Starbucks to stop making disposable cups in South Korea by 2025


A barista washes in a sink inside a Starbucks Coffee Korea Co. store in Gimpo, South Korea.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | fake images

Starbucks has committed to discontinuing disposable cups in South Korea by 2025, as its goal is to cut global landfill waste in half by the end of the decade.

The coffee giant has long promised to cut down on the roughly 7 billion disposable cups it uses each year, most of which end up in landfills. For decades, with a brief hiatus during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, the company has offered a 10-cent discount to customers who bring glasses, but few choose that option.

After Starbucks announced last year that it plans to eventually become a “resource positive,” the company has set more goals to reduce water use, carbon emissions and waste. On Tuesday, the company said it will run a two-month pilot for a loan and refund program at five cafes in Seattle, where it is based. The company announced on Monday a series of new targets for its South Korean market, including reducing its carbon footprint by 30% by 2025.

As it seeks to phase out single-use cups for its coffee, Starbucks plans to introduce a circular mug program in South Korea to slowly encourage customers to reuse cups and mugs. This summer, the chain plans to implement a program in select cafes in Jeju that allows consumers to pay a small deposit for a reusable cup, which they can return at a contactless return kiosk.

Starbucks shares were up 1.9% in morning trading. The company’s shares have risen 64% over the past year, giving it a market value of $ 131 billion.

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