If you reside in London, you might notice a slight uptick in the price of your Starbucks order. That’s because the coffee giant is testing out a 5p charge for their paper cups in 25 shops across the city. The company is aiming to “encourage and support” the use of reusable cups.
In their official statement, Starbucks cites the growing concern surrounding single-use paper cups, which are not recyclable. They said they aim to “investigate the impact of a 5p charge on a paper cup, coupled with prominent marketing of reusable cups, on customer behaviour.”
The change will take place in 20-25 Starbucks locations across London starting in February and will span three months.
The coffee company announces this new development just one week after MPs published a report urging the UK government to instate a 25p “latte levy” on paper cups to reduce waste. The report highlighted a major issue: many consumers believed that paper coffee cups were “widely recycled.” However, most recycling plants are unable to remove the cups’ plastic lining from their infrastructure. This results in 2.5 billion coffee cups being thrown into landfills each year.
If the 5p charge seems selfish, have a little hope: Starbucks promises to donate all profits made from the tax to Hubbub, an environmental charity that doubles as a behavior change expert. The profits will be used to conduct a study that will help Starbucks “understand how the public can be encouraged to choose reusable drink containers.”
Of course, that’s not to say the change isn’t at least a little selfish: Starbucks does sell their own line of reusable cups in store, and London locations will certainly be seeing a marketing push towards the purchase of these branded containers.
Will the change stick and spread? Guess we’ll find out in three months!