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  • Writer's picturePrachi Patil

Would paying 25 cents for a to-go coffee cup make you bring your reusable coffee mug?



to-go coffee cup

I recently purchased a cappuccino at Starbucks, Vancouver, and after enjoying a few sips, I saw a label on the cup saying an extra 25 cents for the to-go cup. Until I had read this label in small font, I wouldn’t have realized I had paid 25 cents extra for the cup. There was no visible information about the additional cup fee at the cafe to increase consumer awareness.


Curiously, I enquired at the billing counter, and the lady mentioned that Starbucks is charging an extra fee for to-go cups, but it has been offering 10 cents off the regular price if you bring your reusable coffee mug.


Being a sustainability enthusiast, I further explored and found a rule issued in Vancouver City: Effective January 1, 2022, a minimum fee of $0.25 must be charged for each single-use beverage cup distributed. Businesses keep the cup’s fees and are encouraged to provide reusable alternatives. Revenue from cup fees is not remitted to the city.


Is this strategy of charging extra cents encouraging consumers to use reusable cups since many consumers are okay to pay an additional fee of 25 cents?


Is there enough consumer awareness about extra cents charged?


Are businesses making efforts to encourage consumers to use reusable cups?


Are there any alternatives for reducing cup usage?


What is required for the desired change?

  • Businesses must increase consumer awareness about the additional fee and encourage reusable cups through informational display boards rather than just pocketing extra cents.

  • Businesses should use biodegradable or recycled cups/lid covers. This will also improve the ecological footprint of the brand.

  • The government should promote such initiatives to increase consumer support.

  • Offer lucrative consumer benefits to increase consumer adoption of such initiatives.

  • Consumers should support adopting such initiatives and at the same time be curious about extra charges being charged to increase self-awareness.

Just charging an extra few cents doesn't encourage consumers to use reusable coffee cups. In my opinion, it doesn't solve the problem, or does it? What are your thoughts?


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