Students find cheaper alternative to reusable cups at Starbucks

Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer Dewitt senior Megan Winans sits in the Bovee University center after purchasing a reusable Starbucks coffee cup Wednesday afternoon.

Sustainability advocates at Central Michigan University have been sipping easier after Starbucks began offering reusable and recyclable plastic cups for $1.

Starbucks began offering the plastic reusable and recyclable cups earlier this month in an effort to give customers a cheaper alternative to pricier, reusable cups and one-time-use cups.

The middle-ground cup offers a distinct price advantage over the more expensive cups and a practicality the one-time-use cups don’t.

“I think it's a great idea to use the (reusable) cups, because we go through hundreds (of paper ones) a day,” Starbucks employee and Bay City senior Alyson Koch said. “And using a reusable cup could greatly reduce the paper products we go through”.

Koch said the new additions have been noticed by other coffee lovers such as herself.

“We just got the reusable Starbucks cups in this week, and people are definitely showing interest in them,” Koch said.

Marketing manager Nikki Smith said the cup and lid are recyclable, and students can expect to take less of a price hit when they drink at Starbucks.

"We are anticipating that the reusable cup will be a popular item," Smith said. "The cup is only $1, and every time you use any reusable cup at the CMU Starbucks in the UC, you receive $0.10 off your drink".

Brighton junior Emily Huckabone said she planned to buy a cup largely because of the affordable  price.

“(Because it’s only a dollar), I would like to buy one,” she said.

According to the Environmental Action Association, typical paper cups make it into landfills as a result of disposable purchases.

“Although more coffee companies are going green and serve their products in biodegradable cups, those are all disposable containers,” the EAA’s site says. “The resources required to make those cups are considerable; the environmental consequences can be quite staggering”

Koch said she will be making the switch and buying a cup after her shift Thursday morning.

“I am going to buy one when I get out of class today, because I think they are awesome,” Koch said, ”And (they aren’t) at all flimsy like I expected. However, a sleeve may be needed as the heat does get through the cup”.

Starbucks is also part of the Global Social Compliance Program, which focuses on environmental factors and conditions for workers to help with social and environmental sustainability.


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