Coffee retailer Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) will begin selling a reusable plastic cup for $1 at all its U.S. and Canadian locations in an effort to reduce the amount of waste generated by the company’s current paper cups. The company has long offered a $0.10 discount to customers who bring their own cups, and the new reusable cups will be eligible for the same savings.
A Starbucks executive said that in test marketing at 600 stores in the Pacific Northwest, the number of reusable cups brought in by customers jumped by 26% in November compared with November 2011.
At one time Starbucks set a goal of having 25% of its cups be reusable by 2015, but the company has since lowered its sights to just 5% reusable cups. Less than 2% of the cups used at Starbucks in 2011 were reusable.
Whether the company’s efforts will pay off remains to be seen. A more effective way to change consumers’ behavior might be to charge more for coffee in paper cups, but that could cut sales.
Or maybe Starbucks could promote its recently introduced $7 cup of coffee by giving away this reusable tumbler with each cup. Two birds with one stone you might say.