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Starbucks unveils plans to phase out its single-use cups

The coffee giant announced that it will be testing out three different reusable cup strategies at select stores worldwide over the next few years.

WASHINGTON — The current iconic Starbucks to-go cups may only be around for a few more years as the coffee giant looks to phase out most disposable cups by 2025.

In a press release, Starbucks said it will be testing three operating models at select stores in an effort to meet its 2025 goal to "create a cultural movement towards reusables by giving customers easy access to a personal or Starbucks provided reusable cup for every visit making it convenient to reuse."

One strategy, called "borrow a cup," involves customers paying a deposit for durable cup that they then return when finished. This model currently has live pilots in Japan, Singapore, and London. 

The "100% reusable" program would get rid of all disposable cups entirely and instead have customers use their own cups or take-home reusable cups for to-go orders. The initiative found success in South Korea, and it was tested out at five Seattle locations last year.

The final model is the "personal cup" program where customers are encouraged to bring their own mugs for an order, and Starbucks added that this strategy will become an option at every store in the U.S. and Canada by the end of next year. 

Starbucks currently offers a 10 cents discount for customers who bring their own mug at participating locations, but the company said it plans to expand this discount to 50 cents at most locations once the "personal cup" program is fully rolled out.

“We set a bold aspiration to become a resource positive company – to store more carbon than we emit, to eliminate waste and to conserve and replenish more freshwater than we use," said Michael Kobori, Starbucks' chief sustainability officer. "Innovation is how we will build our next chapter, advance our planet positive impact, and boldly reimagine our future together.”

And for customers worried about dirty mugs, Starbucks is also on top of that: the company is currently testing out DIY washing stations at certain locations in Arizona and Hawaii. 

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