Starbucks Launches Coffee Cup Charge Trial Across London

Today (26 February) Starbucks has launched a pioneering 5p coffee cup charge trial in 35 stores across the city, west end, and west London, to evaluate whether customers will reduce their use of single-use paper cups.

The proceeds from the 5p charge will be donated to environmental charity and behaviour change experts, Hubbub. Hubbub will help to track the impact of this three-month trial cup charge on customer behaviour, helping to reduce waste and encourage the use of reusable cups. Hubbub will also use the funds to support other innovative campaigns to reduce waste across the capital.

Starbucks commissioned research found that almost half (48%) of people surveyed said they would carry a reusable cup, saving money and reducing waste. Since 2014, Starbucks has offered a £1 reusable cup to make it as easy as possible for customers to reuse at an accessible price.

“We’re hoping that this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic-lined cups, as it has with plastic bags.”

The trial, which will add 5p automatically on to any paper cup purchase in these 35 stores, will coincide with impactful in-store marketing communications to inform customers of the charge. To further reduce waste, Starbucks baristas will also ensure all customers drinking in store are offered their drink in a ceramic cup.

Simon Redfern, vp communications, Starbucks Europe, said: “We’re hoping that this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic-lined cups, as it has with plastic bags.

“We’ve offered a reusable cup discount for 20 years, with only 1.8% of customers currently taking up this offer, so we’re really interested in working with Hubbub to see how this charge could help to change behaviour and help to reduce waste.”

Gavin Ellis, co-founder, Hubbub said: “Our early conversations with customers have shown an increased awareness of the need to reduce waste from single-use cups. Previous studies have shown that adding a charge on single-use cups is more effective than money off a reusable cup.

“We’re excited to be working on this initiative with Starbucks to find out if this is the case on the high street and to discover what else will encourage people to use reusable cups.”

The 5p paper cup charge trial is the latest in Starbucks long-standing commitment to environmental action and sustainability. In addition to its ongoing efforts to reduce material waste – such as a 25p discount for customers who bring in a reusable mug or tumbler – Starbucks is a founding member of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, a growing coalition of more than 80 industry and conservation leaders led by Conservation International and working to make coffee the world’s most sustainable commodity.

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