It’s Friday, April 9, and Starbucks will soon break its disposable cup habit in South Korea.

Starbucks announced this week that it will eliminate disposable cups from its South Korean stores by 2025. Single-use cups will be replaced by a “cup circularity program,” where customers will pay a small deposit for each reusable cup, which will be refunded when they return the cup at a contactless kiosk. 

The program would be a first for the company and is a part of its campaign to halve its carbon, water, and waste footprints by 2030. The move stands in contrast to the company’s prior policy of not allowing reusable cups during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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“Our goals are ambitious because we believe it is our responsibility to explore innovative ways to bring our communities and business partners together around this shared desire to make a positive impact for the planet,” said David Song, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Korea, in a statementThe change comes after South Korea passed legislation last year requiring fast food and coffee chains to charge refundable deposits for disposable cups by 2022, in the hopes of reducing landfill waste and incentivize recycling. South Korea’s environment ministry plans to reduce the country’s plastic waste by 20 percent over the next four years.

Alexandria Herr

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