Starting the year off on an eco-friendly, and probably profitable note, Starbucks is launching $1 reusable tumblers in stores throughout the United States and Canada.
The tumblers, which are made of plastic and have interior lines to mark "tall" or "grande," are part of an effort to reduce waste from food and beverage retailers. While these cups are manufactured in China for less than $1, USA Today reports, bringing in a reusable cup will give customers a $0.10 discount on their coffee, meaning customers will earn back the price of one within 10 drinks.
Baristas will also reportedly clean out tumblers free of charge with a "boiling-water rinse," Jim Hanna, Starbucks representative, said.
"It's not a burden for people to buy two or three," Hanna said, as Starbucks has sold higher-end tumblers to customers before. The number of reusable cups used, however, increased 26 percent at the 600 stores where these $1 tumblers were tested, Hanna said.
Unfortunately, reusable tumblers haven't had a great track record in Starbucks; only 1.9 percent of their cups were multiuse in 2011, compared to 1.5 percent in 2009, non-profit group As You Sow notes. Others are worried about cross-contamination of germs, or people forgetting to bring their cups with them. Even so, we're sure we'll be seeing these plastic cups all over our office, even though we won't be comfortable with microwaving them.