Starbucks to phase out iconic cup; launch pilot EV charging network at its stores

volvo charging station
Starbucks is launching a pilot EV charger program with Volvo.

Starbucks Corp. is doubling down on its commitment to cut its waste and carbon emissions from direct operations in half by 2030 as part of its goal to one day be “resource positive.”

Taking what it called a “test and learn approach” to meet its 2030 planet-positive goals, the coffee giant  is partnering with Volvo to launch a pilot program to electrify a driving route from the Colorado Rockies to Seattle by installing EV charging stations at Starbucks stores along the way. 

In addition, to help reach its goal of reducing waste by 50% by 2030, Starbucks is moving away from disposable cups and is piloting reusable cup programs in six markets around the world. It also is launching a waste and recycling app to support employees’ sustainability efforts.

The new initiatives were announced the day after Starbucks said it is ramping up the global expansion of its “community” store concept as part of a new commitment to make its stores more inclusive — and accessible.

Starbucks said its new pilot program with Volvo Cars will provide a string of familiar, reliable, clean and safe places to recharge battery-powered vehicles.

By the end of 2022, Volvo-branded electric vehicle (EV) chargers, powered by ChargePoint, will be available at up to 15 Starbucks stores along a 1,350-mile route from the Denver area to the coffee company’s Seattle headquarters. (The initiative is part of the company’s 2,700 Greener Store portfolio.)

DC Fast Chargers will be placed at Starbucks stores about every 100 miles, adding much-needed peace of mind for EV drivers, “who we know see today’s limited charging infrastructure as a major barrier to purchase,” according to Starbucks.  

By 2030, Starbucks aspires to lead the retail industry in decarbonization solutions, including EV charging and onsite solar availability at stores and in adjacent locations. Starbucks plans to continue expanding its solar pilot locations to 55 stores this year. 

Starbucks is shifting away from single-use plastics and piloting reusable cup programs in six markets around the world. By the end of next year, customers will be able to use their own personal reusable cup for every Starbucks order in the U.S. and Canada — including in-store, drive-thru and mobile orders.

Starbucks continues to test multiple “borrow-a-cup” and reusable operating programs in the U.S., UK, Japan, and Singapore, with more countries in the year ahead. In addition, the company continues to encourage customers to bring their own cup and to emphasize for-here-ware as the default sit-and-stay experience, while exploring new customer incentives and technologies, like cup washing stations at café counters.  

Disposable cups and lids make up 40% of the company’s packaging waste, reported CNBC.

“Our goal, by 2025, is to create a cultural movement towards reusables by giving customers easy access to a personal or Starbucks provided reusable to-go cup for every visit, making it convenient and delightful to reuse wherever customers are enjoying their Starbucks Experience,” the company stated.

Starbucks is launching a waste and recycling app for workers to help them to help navigate complex and unique store recycling guidelines. The app, developed by employees, puts everything employees need to know to reduce waste and recycle in one place, the company said.  It features store-specific information and notifications, a sorting guide and the option to create store-specific signage for partners and customers.

“We have a bold long-term sustainability vision and ambitious goals for 2030,” said Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson. “Starbucks partners around the world are passionate about protecting our planet and are at the very center of driving the innovation that enables us to give more than we take from the planet.”

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