Why Your Starbucks Cold Cups Are Going To Be A Little Different

As the latest in a series of big changes Starbucks has been making in 2024, the coffee stop is taking a step forward when it comes to sustainability. In its 2023 Global Impact Report, Starbucks noted that 14% of customer packaging was made from recycled, renewable, or compostable material. The company is hoping to increase that figure with its new cold cup, which is made with up to 20% less plastic — per information shared with MegaMenu — and it will be arriving in stores across the U.S. and Canada over the next year. According to Starbucks, the new cups will "keep 13.5 million pounds of plastic from landfills each year." The company has pledged to ensure all of its packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2030, meaning this is just the first step.

In terms of appearance, the new cups don't look all that different from what we're used to — although the coloring of the logo appears to be a little more faded than the vibrant forest green we know so well. The tall cups are also a little more squat to accommodate the new universal lid, which will fit each cup size equally.

According to one self-proclaimed Starbucks employee on the r/starbucks Reddit community, the previous lids were made by a different company than the one that manufactured the cups, which caused the sizing issues that plagued customers and employees alike. In addition, baristas with impaired vision will benefit from the introduction of raised dots at the bottom of the new cups, enabling them to easily distinguish between sizes.

Why you should still bring your reusable cup to Starbucks

While this change is certainly a good start, it's by no means perfect, which Starbucks acknowledges in the way it treats reusable cups. In 2023, the chain began trialing customers bringing reusable cups through the drive-thru, and by January 2024, it rolled this option out to all participating locations across the U.S. and Canada. Customers can now bring their own cup (as long as it's clean!) to the store regardless of whether they order at the counter, at the window, or on their phone.

Using your own cup is not only great for sustainability, but it can also generate some rewards. You can earn 25 "stars" if you're part of the chain's rewards program and knock 10 cents off of your purchase if you provide baristas with a reusable cup for them to use. So, if you're worried about inconveniencing the chain, don't be — think of it more as a Starbucks hack.

According to the email Starbucks sent to MegaMenu, since beginning the rollout in January, 400,000 Rewards members have brought in a personal cup, with 150,000 customers using one for the first time. Even the baristas — 20% of them, to be exact — use a personal cup for their on-shift drink. The cup redesign pertains only to cold drinks, so bringing a reusable cup is doubly important if you're purchasing something hot.