Starbucks $1 reusable cups: Curb trash, get a discount

Starbucks $1 reusable cups: Starbucks will introduce $1 reusable plastic cups at its cafes starting Thursday. Starbucks already gives customers a 10-cent discount for using reusable cups for refills, but it hopes the $1 plastic cups will increase the habit and reduce trash. 

Ted S. Warren/AP/File
In this April 2012, photo, a Starbucks drink in a paper cup waits for a customer to pick it up as barista Josh Barrow prepares another at left in Seattle. By introducing $1 reusable plastic cups that look like their disposable counterparts, Starbucks is hoping to increase the use of reusable cups and reduce trash.

Starbucks Corp. is rolling out a $1 reusable plastic cup at its cafes starting Thursday.

The Seattle-based coffee chain already gives customers a dime discount each time they bring in reusable cups for refills. Now it's hoping the new cups — which bear its logo and resemble its white paper cups — will increase the habit.

As with other reusable cups, the new cups will be cleaned with boiling water each time customers bring them in. The cups were tested in 600 stores in the Pacific Northwest over the past few months and will be rolled out nationwide and in Canada.

In 2008, Seattle-based Starbucks had said it wanted to serve 25 percent of all drinks in reusable cups by 2015. That goal has since been reduced to 5 percent.

Opening in Vietnam

In other Starbucks news, the coffee maker will open its first Vietnam cafe early next month in Ho Chi Minh City as part of its strategy to expand across Asia, the company said Thursday.

The Seattle-based chain will be entering a country of coffee lovers that already has an established market. At least two popular homegrown chains have dozens of locations nationwide, and family-run sidewalk cafes dot the streets and alleys of larger Vietnamese cities.

Starbucks said it operates more than 3,300 stores across 11 countries in China and the Asia-Pacific region, but its Vietnam cafes will celebrate the country's "coffee culture and heritage."

"We are looking forward to serving our customers in Vietnam in an authentic and locally relevant way," Jinlong Wang, president forStarbucks Asia Pacific, said in a statement.

Vietnam is the world's second-largest coffee producer behind Brazil and already provides high-quality beans for Starbucks stores in other countries.

The company said it has designated a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Maxim's Group as its licensee in Vietnam.

French colonizers introduced coffee to Vietnam in the nineteenth century, but coffee here typically is stronger than European espresso and can be served with tea.

Starbucks, named after a character in Herman Melville's nineteenth-century novel Moby Dick, opened in 1971 and has nearly 18,000 retail stores in 60 countries.

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