3 Challenges That Starbucks Reusable Cup For $1 Program Is Facing
Starbucks has long revealed its plans to sell reusable plastic cups to customers and the program is up and running in most of its stores. Is the cup half empty or half full? I explore 3 problems the Starbucks reusable cup program is facing.
Starbucks says its goal is to, “Serve 25 percent of beverages made in our stores in reusable cups by 2015″. On the surface, it seems like an unattainable goal when you look at the big picture. Starbucks progress towards going green is still absolutely commendable. Let’s look at the low and high points of the program.
Starbucks Reusable Cup Program
There are a few low points and unrealistic expectations that I’ve come across. I want to see the program succeed for the good of the environment. I also think it’s great for business. These three areas are cause for concern and hopefully will not put Starbucks reusable cups in jeopardy.
According to a survey by YouGov, 57% of respondents either definitively or probably won’t purchase the plastic cups. As of January 8th, only 2% of respondents in this poll said they have already purchased the plastic reusable cups.
It doesn’t seem like the latest data is in-line with Starbucks 25% goal. Is it realistic to think that most of its customers will break its paper cup habit?
When you consider looking at the adoption rate of tumblers from 1.5% in 2009 to 1.9% in 2011, how in the world will Starbucks manage to get 25% of its customers on re-useable plastic cups by 2015? Who am I to say it’s impossible but it’s a daunting task to say the least.
Money Maker? I Think Not
Some argue that Starbucks will be making money off of these reusable plastic cups. I beg to differ. Starbucks may be selling these cups for $1 but there’s no way in this universe it’s profitable. Starbucks has to purchase the cup. Employee, warehousing and transportation costs are a factor. When you analyze it from a contribution margin perspective, you cannot tell me they are making money off these cups!
In addition, if customers receive 10 cents back on every refill on top of this, think about how much money are they really making off that $1 cup in the end.
Recycling Is Still A Challenge
Starbucks may be doing it’s part to go green but there’s no guarantee that customers will either have the access or will power to recycle the cups properly. This downfall could make the program an exercise in futility. No5 cups are incredibly hard to recycle. This makes me slightly skeptical about Starbucks recyclable cup solution.
I my eyes, the real “green” (if that’s your goal) solution is that people brew their own coffee at home (as much as possible!). I can obviously understand when folks are on vacation that would be hard. I can probably make a safe assumption that most people visiting a Starbucks are not on vacation or out-of-town.
In closing, I truly hope Starbucks can reach its goals. I’m personally a huge Starbucks fan and it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Especially mother earth!
Photo credit: Starbucks