Starbucks’ Best Idea

You want it in there?

The barista peered into my stained, but clean reusable cup.


I bought it at a Starbucks in Casper, Wyoming almost three years ago and have seldom used one of their paper cups since.  It cost a dollar, is made of hard plastic, looks just like the standard cup, and gets me a ten-cent discount every time I use it.  In between flat whites I use it to store snacks in my backpack or for free refills at the drinking fountain in the airport.

I can’t figure out why I never see anyone else in line at Starbucks using one.

This US Today article, published at the outset of the program, was skeptical it would change behavior.   Starbucks revised their initial goal of  serving 25% of their drinks in reusable cups by 2015 down to 5%.

Maybe these newly designed cups will inspire a few more coffee drinkers to make the switch, but I suspect it will be a lot like the plastic bag ban in Santa Fe.  For a while the city tried the honor system, encouraging but not penalizing those of us who forgot our reusable bags.  It didn’t work and this summer they implemented a charge:  ten-cents a bag.  Suddenly we got a lot better at remembering.



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