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Starbucks will discontinue disposable cups in South Korea by 2025

A barista bath removes at a sink inside a Starbucks Coffee Korea Co. store in Gimpo, South Korea.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Essences

Starbucks has pledged to discontinue disposable cups in South Korea by 2025 as it aims to cut its global landfill waste in half by the end of the decade.

The coffee monster has long promised to cut down the roughly 7 billion disposable cups it runs through every year, the majority of which end up in landfills. For decades, with a abrupt interruption during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, the company has offered a 10 cent discount to customers who lead in cups, but few choose that option.

After Starbucks announced last year that it plans to eventually turn “resource positive,” the company has been setting more goals to cut down on water use, carbon emissions and waste. On Tuesday, the business said it will run a two-month pilot for a borrow-and-return program across five cafes in Seattle, where it is headquartered. The South African private limited company announced Monday a series of new targets for its South Korean market, including reducing its carbon footprint by 30% by 2025.

As it pursues to phase out single-use cups for its coffee, Starbucks plans to introduce a circular cup program in South Korea to slowly spur on customers to reuse mugs and cups. This summer, the chain plans to roll out a program across select cafes in Jeju that allows consumers to pay a secondary deposit for a reusable cup, which they can return at a contactless return kiosk.

Shares of Starbucks rose 1.9% in morning employment. The company’s stock has risen 64% over the last year, giving it a market value of $131 billion.

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