Starbucks sells $1 reusable cup, Square mobile card readers

Starbucks started selling $1 reusable plastic cups to cut back on waste.

Starting Thursday, Starbucks addicts can get their grande lattes in a $1 reusable plastic cup, sold by the chain across North America in an effort to get customers to cut back on waste.

All company-owned stores and some licensed stores in the U.S. and Canada will offer the cups, which bear the Seattle coffee giant’s logo and resemble the white paper cups normally used by the cafes.

The recyclable cups are marked to measure grande or tall servings – Starbucks lingo for 16-ounce and 12-ounce sizes, respectively. Customers who use the cup or any other reusable container get a 10-cent discount for each refill as well as a boiling water cleanse for the receptacle.

Starbucks tested its eco-friendly effort in 600 Pacific Northwest stores starting in October. In November, the region saw a 26% boost in reusable cup usage compared to the same month in 2011.


The trend enjoyed a 55% increase over the last three years at Starbucks, according to the company. Reusable cups were employed more than 34 million times in 2011 at the chain’s locations.

But that makes up just 2% of Starbucks’ worldwide beverage sales. The company aims to raise that figure to 5% by 2015 – down from its original goal of 25%.

Also Thursday, the coffee behemoth said it will begin selling Square mobile card readers in 7,000 company-owned stores. The readers, when paired with the free Square Register app, allows iPhone, iPad or Android users to accept credit card transactions through their mobile devices.

Starbucks retail stores will feature the readers for $10, with a $10 rebate for new users upon sign-up. The coffee chain said this summer that it was investing $25 million in Square and partnering with the company to allow patrons to pay for goods without a physical credit card.

Starbucks also said Thursday that it will open its first store in Vietnam with a location in Ho Chi Minh City slated for early February. Starbucks has more than 3,300 stores across 11 countries in the China and Asia Pacific region.


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