If customers take the cup home, they can also take advantage of Starbucks’ partnership with Ridwell, a company that will collect reusable cups at your home. Each mug is then cleaned and sanitized and re-rotated for another customer to use.
The chain’s traditional disposable hot cups are made of both plastic and paper, so they are difficult to recycle. And while compostable cups can be a greener option, they must be composted at an industrial facility. Reusable cups could therefore be a more practical green choice, although this approach can be difficult to scale up.
Starbucks launched a reusable cup trial at Gatwick Airport in London in 2019, a year after the company launched the NextGen Cup Challenge in collaboration with McDonald’s and other partners to rethink cup materials. Applicants ranging from hobbyists to industrial design companies submitted proposals for cups made from mushrooms, rice husks, water lilies, corn leaves and artificial spider silk.