Starbucks' Borrow A Cup program will kick off at five Seattle locations.

Starbucks Is Testing A Reusable Cup Program That Rewards Customers With Free Stars

by Daffany Chan
Courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks loyalists already love the chain's colorful reusable cups and tumblers, but the coffee giant is testing a new way to make using reusable cups even more exciting for customers. Starbucks unveiled its Borrow A Cup program on Tuesday, April 6, and it gives customers the option to order their drinks in reusable cups they can return to the store after they're done. The company is starting small with a test run in select Seattle Starbucks locations, and here's exactly how the new eco-friendly program works to reduce waste and rack up Bonus Stars for customers.

The program kicked off on March 30 with a trial run in five Seattle stores that will run through May 31. Customers who take part in the program will help reduce paper waste by ordering their sips in a newly designed reusable cup, which they can then return to Starbucks. Each reusable cup — which looks similar to the classic cup design with a Starbucks logo and and white background — replaces up to 30 disposable paper cups, according to the company, so opting to use the new cups could definitely make a difference.

To take part in the program at participating Seattle locations, all you'll need to do is order your hot or cold drink in the new reusable cup. You can do so in store, at the Starbucks drive-thru, or by paying ahead in the Starbucks App. (BTW, the cup is available for all drink sizes except for a trenta.) You'll pay a $1 deposit for the reusable cup, which you can get back in the form of a $1 Starbucks credit when you return it.

Once you're finished with your drink, head to a contactless return kiosk at a participating Starbucks store — which you can find in the lobby or at the drive-thru — and scan your cup before dropping it in the kiosk. If you return your cup by June 14, you can get a $1 credit and 10 Bonus Stars added to your Rewards account for doing your part.

When heading to Starbucks, remember to follow the CDC’s most updated safety guidelines on masking and social distancing.

Courtesy of Starbucks

If you're opting to return your cup through Ridwell's at-home pick-up service, you'll simply need to put the reusable cup in a special bag provided by Ridwell and then put it in your Ridwell bin so the company can pick it up at your doorstep.

During the pandemic, Starbucks hasn't been able to fill customers' personal reusable cups, a void the Borrow A Cup program looks to fill. Thanks to Starbucks' partnership with Go Box, you can rest assured that all the cups from the Borrow A Cup program are professionally cleaned and sanitized daily. After cleaning, the reusable cups are ready to be reused within 48 hours.

The Seattle test run follows some single-store trials of the Borrow A Cup program, but there's no word as of April 6 on when or if it will go national. If the trials go well, it could hopefully expand — so fingers crossed!