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Environmental charity to receive Starbucks 5p cup charge in UK rollout

Environmental charity to receive Starbucks 5p cup charge in UK rollout

Starbucks is to test a 5p takeaway cup charge across all of its 950 stores in the UK from next Thursday (26 July), with the money raised going to environmental charity Hubbub.

The move follows a three-month trial in London and will see all stores add 5p on to the cost of any drink purchased in a paper cup in a bid to encourage customers to bring in a reusable cup.  Customers using reusable cups already receive 25p off Starbucks drinks.



The three-month trial showed a 126% uplift in the use of reusable cups in participating stores, which was measured by the number of customers redeeming the reusable 25p cup discount.

Throughout the trial Starbucks worked with Hubbub, who used the proceeds to fund a report evaluating the overall impact of the charge on customer behaviour. According to the report, the percentage of customers bringing in their own cup increased in the trial stores from 2.2% before the trial to 5.8% during the trial with mornings seeing 8% of all hot drinks served in reusable mugs or tumblers.

The funds raised from the rollout of the 5p charge will continue to support recycling and sustainability efforts with Hubbub, with a focus on reducing plastic pollution across the UK and prompting consumers to rethink the use of plastic.

Earlier this year Starbucks committed $10m to develop a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, through the NextGen Cup Challenge. The company also recently announced plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws globally by 2020, with a new Starbucks strawless lid to be standard on all iced coffee, tea and espresso drinks.

Martin Brok, President, Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa said:

“We saw encouraging results from the first three months of this trial with Hubbub, and what stood out to us was the positive response we had from our partners and customers who continue to push us to innovate and find ways to reduce waste. Extending this to all our stores across Britain is an exciting step and we’re hoping this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic as it has with plastic bags.”

Trewin Restorick, CEO and Founder of Hubbub said:

“Single-use plastics is an issue that has become more significant in people’s minds than ever before. The trial proved this, showing that customers have an increased awareness of the need to reduce waste from single-use cups. A 5p charge is an effective way to prompt this change. We’re excited to be working with Starbucks, particularly as they take on board the findings of the trial and introduce the charge across the whole of the UK. We look forward to discovering what more can be done to encourage people to use reusable cups.”


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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