Starbucks Korea will distribute reusable cups from Q3 2021 onwards


In a bid to ensure a sustainable future, Starbucks Korea recently rolled out an ambitious plan that aims to reduce carbon output by 30%. Starbucks Korea will be setting an example for other branches around the world as a leader in sustainability, starting by phasing out the disposable cups that they use. Starbucks Korea aims to eliminate the use of disposable cups by 2025.

Starbucks Korea will also start to distribute reusable cups in the later half of 2021 as part of their efforts to become a more eco-friendly company.


Part of the “Better Together” sustainability project


starbucks korea disposable cups - recycling
Image credit: @starbuckskorea

On 5th April, Starbucks Korea rolled out their “Better Together” sustainability project. In addition to reducing carbon footprint, Starbucks Korea also plans to increase employment opportunities by 30% as part of the project.

starbucks korea disposable cups - reusable cup
Image credit: @starbuckskorea

The coffee chain will start distributing reusable cups in a few stores in Jeju, from July 2021 onwards. These cups will be used in place of disposable single-use cups. Over the next 4 years, Starbucks Korea will gradually introduce the eco-friendly cups to the rest of their stores.

Customers will need to pay a deposit for the reusable cups, and the deposit will be returned to them when the cups are returned to the cafe. 

Starbucks Korea believes that this shift from single-use cups will allow the company to cut its landfill waste in half by 2030.


Other eco-friendly initiatives under the “Better Together” project


starbucks korea disposable cups - plant-based menu
Image credit: @starbuckskorea

Starbucks Korea will be working on providing a more environmentally-friendly menu by including more plant-based foods. 

They will also start using local ingredients to make beverages, and the company plans to launch 5 new drinks made with locally sourced ingredients by the end of this year.

Sustainable, power-efficient stores will also be introduced. 

On top of that, Starbucks Korea intends to use zero-emission electric vehicles as part of their distribution systems. They will start using electric vehicles this year, and will ensure that electric vehicles will be used across its supply chain nationwide by 2024. 

The company will also be employing more staff who belong to underserved groups, such as young graduates, returning mothers, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

starbucks korea disposable cups - disabled staff
Image credit: Starbucks

Starbucks Korea has actually already started to employ people with disabilities. In December 2020, the company opened a store in Seoul National University Dental Hospital where 50% of the staff have disabilities. 


Starbucks Korea to lead by example 


In an announcement, Sara Trilling, president of Starbucks Asia Pacific, said that Starbucks is “excited to […] drive meaningful change in our stores and inform future innovation on a regional and global scale”. 

We are glad that Starbucks Korea is taking steps to be more environmentally conscious. Hopefully, the “Better Together” sustainability project will inspire more companies to follow suit and be more eco-friendly.

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from: @starbuckskorea and @starbuckskorea 

Follow The Smart Local South Korea on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Telegram for more stories like this.