Starbucks Introduces a New Cold Cup

A cold cup is a beverage container that keeps drinks cold (or hot, for coffee) in a way that prevents condensation on the outside. It can be made of plastic, glass, or paper. Some are recyclable, and some are not.

In an effort to reduce the number of disposable cups used by customers, Starbucks plans to roll out a new program that will allow people to bring their own cups to the cafe and receive a discount on a drink for doing so. The program, called Bring Your Own Cup, is part of the company’s broader goal to become “carbon neutral” by 2025.

The cups themselves are still made of single-use paper and plastic, but Starbucks wants to make it less appealing to use them. The company is experimenting with several ways to help make the switch, including offering premade beverages in personal tumblers at drive-thrus and encouraging people to take their cups into the café. Starbucks also is working with a few companies to test new, reusable lids that will keep drinks from spilling out.

One of those lids is designed by SOFi Products, a Miami-based maker of durable, paper SOFi straws that eliminate the need for plastic lids. The SOFi Cold Cup, which is available in all standard sizes, folds together to create a lid and can be used with any of the company’s paper straws. The company hopes the design will not only cut down on disposables but save businesses money by eliminating the cost of separate lids, which can add up to nearly $2.5 per order.

Another option is a clear compostable cold cup from World Centric. This insulated drinking vessel, which holds up to 16 ounces of liquid, is made of heat-safe biodegradable plastic from plant starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane and has a similar mouthfeel to plastic. It is fully commercially compostable in 180 days and can be used with cold or hot beverages. It is BPA free and top-rack dishwasher safe, and it has a custom molded handle for comfortable holding.

This isn’t the first time Starbucks has tried to boost its sustainability efforts. It has also recently begun using more sustainable materials in its Happy Meal toys and made a push to use more recycled ingredients in food packaging. It’s hoping that these moves will help it achieve its goal of reducing the amount of plastic in its supply chain by 40% by 2025. The company has even launched a series of children’s books that are made out of 40% of the same material it uses to manufacture its disposable cups. Each book tells a story about nature and sustainability, giving young children a chance to learn while they play.

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