Starbucks Is Trying To Standardize Bring-Your-Own-Cups To Drive-Thrus

Grabbing a drive-thru coffee at the ubiquitous Starbucks is so easy, you could probably do it with your eyes closed (although you shouldn't because it will inevitably end in a crash and, even worse, spilt coffee). While this ease of purchase has helped to make Starbucks achieve annual revenue of over $32 billion, it also creates the problem of what to do with all those used coffee cups, which total to an estimated 7 billion per year, according to CNBC.

After testing its Borrow-a-Cup program last year, Starbucks is once again aiming to reduce coffee cup waste — this time by allowing customers to bring their own cups to the drive-thru. The scheme is currently trialing in Colorado, reports The Takeout, and all customers have to do is bring their own cup (which could be anything from a reusable plastic coffee cup to a novelty ceramic mug) and hand it to the barista serving them. As an incentive, they will get 10 cents off their drink.

Few people take advantage of Starbucks' bring-your-own-cup promotions

Filling up reusable cups at Starbucks isn't an entirely new idea: Customers have been able to fill their own containers for in-store purchases at a discounted price for the last four decades. Rolling out the idea to drive-thrus, though, is part of Starbucks' wider effort to allow customers to use their own cups for all purchases, including mobile orders, across the U.S. and Canada by the end of 2023.

Further, Starbucks is hoping to make gains on its commitment to halve all carbon, water, and material waste by 2030. Despite this goal, Starbucks hasn't upped the 10-cent reusable cup discount in several years, even though the reusable cups are only used in less than 1% of beverage sales, according to a report from the company

To use your own cup at the Starbucks drive-thru, you'll need to make a purchase of at least $1 and use the discount no more than three times a day. Finally, all cups handed to baristas must be clean — nobody wants to see the coffee-stained fungus growing on the bottom of your unloved work mug.