From E. A. Crunden at “Waste Dive”:
The NextGen Cup Consortium, an effort driven by McDonald’s and Starbucks, is debuting reusable cup pilot programs at independent coffee shops around San Francisco and Palo Alto, California.
The pilot programs will see reusable cups outfitted with tracking codes and chips introduced in place of traditional disposable paper and plastic cups. Returnable packing service startups Muuse designed the cup for San Francisco while CupClub designed the model for Palo Alto.
The concepts being introduced by two different start-ups take a very different approach to what most consumers currently experience. The Muuse cups in San Francisco come with QR codes and are intended to be scanned upon pick-up and drop-off within five days, with patrons given a 25-cent discount. Failure to return the cups will result in a $15 charge. CupClub models will meanwhile have RFID tags and can be stacked at drop-off points in Palo Alto.
The new pilot programs come amid a wider shift as industry players face public scrutiny and increasing pressure to meet their climate and environmental goals. Last month, Starbucks announced plans to achieve a 50% reduction in waste sent to landfills from both stores and manufacturing by 2030. The company said it aims to be “resource-positive” and the announcement also included a commitment to continuing the NextGen Cup Challenge.
Blue Bottle, an upscale coffee chain, meanwhile uses compostable sugarcane cups, but said in 2019 much of that waste still winds up in landfills, contributing to climate change. By the end of 2020, the company is aiming to achieve 90% “zero waste” through reusable cups, beginning with a San Francisco-area pilot program.