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Seoul city, coffee stores experiment with cafes without disposable cups

By Yonhap

Published : Nov. 4, 2021 - 11:48

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These images provided by the city government of Seoul show the procedures involving a tumbler rental program. (Seoul city government) These images provided by the city government of Seoul show the procedures involving a tumbler rental program. (Seoul city government)
The Seoul city government will launch a tumbler rental program this week in collaboration with a group of nearby coffee shops as part of a joint experimental project to drive out disposable cups from cafes, officials said Thursday.

Under the "multiuse cup experimental project," set to kick off Saturday, about 20 coffee shops around Seoul City Hall in central Seoul will lend reusable tumblers to customers taking out coffee or other beverages, the city government said.

Those tumblers can be borrowed at a deposit of 1,000 won ($0.85), which will be refundable upon return. The participating cafes will operate unmanned machines to collect used tumblers lent by any of them and refund the deposit in cash or digital points.

Twelve Starbucks stores have joined the project along with at least six other franchise or stand-alone coffee shops.

After assessing the result of the trial project in February, the city plans to enlist more cafes to join the program. Starbucks, in particular, has pledged to eliminate disposable paper or plastic cups at all its stores in Seoul's city center, the city also added.

A series of related events will also be available during the project's run to encourage cafe goers to use reusable cups, such as the distribution of free beverage coupons to customers opting for drinks in reusable cups at one of the stand-alone cafes participating in the project.

The city stressed that the rental tumblers have been produced with safe materials that do not make endocrine disrupting chemicals at elevated temperatures and will undergo special cleansing by professional hands after they are lent. (Yonhap)