Photo: Starbucks Press release (edited by SoraNews24)

Starbucks waste reduction initiative to start in Tokyo: Borrow a cup, use it, then return it

By Katy Kelly, SoraNews24

Starbucks has resolved to reduce its waste by 50 percent by 2030, both in a global sense and specifically regarding its Japanese market. A cornerstone of this mission is to emphasize re-using materials wherever possible, and the program they’ll be testing out at ten Starbucks outlets in the Tokyo area is very much in that spirit.

This plan specifically targets the production of disposable cups intended for take-out orders, since creating so many single-use cups generates a colossal amount of carbon dioxide. Instead, Starbucks wants to encourage patrons to rent a multi-use cup through what they’re dubbing the Borrow, Return, and Re-use cycle.

The aim is to test the program on a small scale before implementing it across Japan.

The trial run will be held with the assistance of the Re&Go service, a container reuse service set up in cooperation with Nissha and NEC Solutions Innovators. To take part in the program you must add the Re&Go account to your friend feed through Line, a popular messaging service in Japan.

▼ After adding the account on LINE you’ll be able to search for a store that’s running the program.


Then, head on down to a participating store, one of the 10 in the pilot program based in the Tokyo Marunouchi Area.

The participating outlets are: Marunouchi Building, GRANSTA Marunouchi, KITTE Marunouchi, Marunouchi Oazo, Marunouchi Shin-Tokyo Building, Marunouchi Mitsubishi Building, Otemachi Place, Otemachi Tokyo Sankei Building, Shin-Otemachi Building, and Koukyogaien National Park’s Wadakura Fountain Park.

At the counter, let the barista know that you want to use the service. Then tap the “rent a cup” button in the app and scan the QR code attached to the cup when you get it.


The next step is the simplest. Enjoy your drink! Take it to the park, the office, or even back home at your leisure.

When you’re done, head back to any of the Starbucks stores running the program. Tap “return a cup” in the app, scan the QR code at the store, and leave your cup at the counter.


The concept is that by using the store’s own hardy, durable cups — built to preserve the temperature of the drink inside — patrons will be able to cut down on the amount of plastic and cardboard cups they use, meaning that Starbucks won’t have to produce as many to meet demand.

The Re&Go account within the LINE app will allow you to track how much carbon dioxide would have been generated had you used a disposable cup, and the company hopes that this will encourage more of their customers to think about their emissions in an actionable way.

However, perhaps the biggest bonus is that should the program become adapted across all stores, eco-conscious customers wouldn’t have to remember to bring a bulky tumbler with them every time they want a coffee — and also wouldn’t have to wash out the tumbler afterward. They can arrive empty-handed, leave with a drink in a thoroughly sanitized and cleaned cup, then return it when they can, leaving the cup to be cleaned again and used by a new customer.

This is the latest in Starbucks’ appeals for customers to re-use cups and tumblers. In 2020 we saw their small, re-usable eco-cups, and earlier this year brought the arrival of reusable silicon straws to lower the use of disposable plastic ones.

For what it’s worth though, this trial has one advantage over all of their previous efforts: at least for the time being, this service is free! It starts on Dec 1, so give it a try if you’re in the area.

Source: Starbucks Press Release via Netlab

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- The pros and cons of Starbucks Japan’s new reusable straws

-- No more tumblers — Starbucks Japan institutes new coronavirus countermeasure policies

-- Internet reacts with confusion to Muji’s new fill-it-up-yourself water bottle product

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I hope this catches on in a big way. How many cups in landfills, globally? Unnecessary waste.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I’m sorry, but how is this different from a shop with real cups all the time EXCEPT for takeout? My wife, for example, requests a mug cup for her java, and, like magic, without a smart phone, Starbucks complies.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Why does it need an app? This isn't rocket surgery. This is unnecessarily complicated compared to just buying a cup and using all the time.

Techno tedium is NOT innovation.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The environmentalists strike again.


-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The use of specific apps locks people out of using a service. We should be being more inclusive, not finding ways to digitally exclude people. And since the pandemic started, I'm a lot less comfortable about drinking and eating from cups and with utensils others have used.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Why do you need an app to get a cup? Just bring your own cup and ask the staff to fill it up with the beverage of your choice!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So, starbucks have discover cups that you can reruse. I have loads of them in my house, and plates and bowls and cutlery too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If all added up, I guess that ‘new’ system isn’t so eco-conscious anymore but only crazy and surely needs even more resources, handling efforts and energy than those simple disposable cups.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )


-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Please get the app so they can track you and decide where to build another damn store.

I have no desire to walk around carrying a Starbucks jug.

I have no desire to walk into a Starbucks anyway.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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