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January 4, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Will you use the $1 Starbucks cup?

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Will you pay $1 for one of the new semi-reusable Starbucks cups? The sturdy plastic tumblers can be used about 30 times apiece if they’re washed in the dishwasher, my neighborhood barista told me when I tried one out Thursday, and they’ll live even longer if they’re hand-washed. Bringing the cup back will get you a dime off your drink each time, so you could ultimately save a few dollars in addition to cutting down on waste. The printing on the cup says it’s recyclable, although an asterisk notes that it may not actually be recyclable depending on the area, which doesn’t help me a lot.

I appreciate the goals, and I liked the relative solidity of the cup — it doesn’t squish — but I dont think I’ll be a repeat customer, and I wonder how many there will be. Wouldn’t most people interested in it for either environmental or financial reasons, and organized enough to bring the cup along each time, just go one better by using a ceramic mug? (Starbucks already sells its own version, with the identical look, for $10.95, though thrift shops are full of them.) Also, I’d rather not drink hot beverages out of a plastic cup — the reusable Starbucks cup says it’s BPA-free, but I don’t know what is in it.

The cups have been available in 600 Pacific Northwest stores for a few months, including my local one, though I didn’t notice them until the news hit Thursday. Jim Hanna of Starbucks told USA Today that the test-marketing “boosted the number of reusable cups 26% in those stores last November, compared with the same month a year earlier.” He also told them that Starbucks will rinse the cups with boiling water before each refill, although it apparently already does the same with any cups customers bring in.

Is it worth it to you?

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