In 2012, Starbucks began selling a $1.00 re-usable cup that would “pay for itself” in only 10 cups of coffee. By this, they meant that for every person who brought in their own cup, they would shave 10 cents off of the price. In addition to that, they’ve given away brewed coffee for free on Earth Day to anyone who brought their own cup. There was even one year where brewed coffee was free every day in January if you brought your own cup.

Despite this, Starbucks’ goal for 2015 was to serve 5% of their drinks in personal tumblers. In 2014, only 1.7% of 45.7 million beverages were served in personal tumblers and it even dropped to 1.6% of 44.5 million beverages in 2015.


GIF courtesy of

In regards to this, they basically said that it’s up to us now. They have attempted to increase reusable tumbler usage, only asking for a mere 5%, and consumers have still have not risen to the challenge. Basically, we’re being lazy. We’d rather show up and have them give us a to-go cup than purchase one and reuse it even when it would benefit both sides of the product/consumer chain.

One guy even suggested that Starbucks should charge people 10 cents instead of giving them a 10 cent discount in an attempt to motivate people to bring their own cups. I kind of dig this because the prices stay the same, but somehow people might react differently if they feel they’re being punished for their lack of sustainable living instead of being rewarded for their attempts at sustainability. Basic reverse psychology. It’s a classic.


Photo by Nicole Witte

Let’s grab a calculator and do some math while we’re here. This applies to the loyal customers. I’m talking people who go at least once a day or maybe even multiple times a day. Let’s say you get two cups of coffee a day. Over a year, that adds up to about $73.

But how long have you been drinking Starbucks? I’d say my love goes back at least 7 years. That’s $511 that I could’ve spent on something else while simultaneously saving the planet. The point is, you will save hundreds of dollars in the future and the environment if you just bring your own cup to Starbucks.