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Starbucks’ reusable cup pilot program to kick off on Jeju

(Starbucks Korea)
(Starbucks Korea)

Starbucks Korea will ditch single-use cups at four of its stores on Jeju Island from next month, serving its coffee in reusable cups instead, the company announced Wednesday.

Starting from July 6, customers at the four stores located at Seohaean-ro, Aewol, Chilseong and Hyeop-jae will be served beverages in reusable cups that require a deposit fee of 1,000 won ($0.90), refundable upon return.

They can reclaim the deposit at any of the four stores or at a multiuse cup return machine installed at Jeju Airport. The recovered cups will be used again in stores after being thoroughly cleansed by a specialized institution, the local unit of the Seattle-based firm said.

CEO Song Ho-seob said that he hopes the pilot “cup circularity” program will be a stepping-stone for a new, sustainable path.

“Starbucks Korea has made hefty efforts to engage with its customers in trying to find more sustainable solutions to reduce disposable products and participate in designing an eco-friendly ecosystem,” he said.

The Jeju trial is supported by seven other private organizations, the company said.

The coffee chain operates 23 stores in total on the island and plans to introduce the program to cover all of them by October.

The move comes after the coffeehouse chain announced in April a plan to stop the use of disposable cups by 2025 in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint. If the pilot program on Jeju succeeds, it plans to gradually switch over to reusable cups at all stores across the nation over the next four years.

The coffee giant aims to go greener on a global scale. Starbucks initiated the “Borrow A Cup” trial program in five Seattle stores in April until Monday, allowing customers to order their drinks in reusable cups.

By Park Jun-hee (junheee@heraldcorp.com)

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