The coffeehouse chain has made its reusable and disposable holiday cups more sustainable than ever.

Kate Bertrand Connolly, Freelance Writer

December 15, 2022

3 Min Read
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Starbucks celebrates the 2022 holiday season with a new design for its reusable red cup (foreground) and four different graphics for its disposable paper cups (in the background).Image courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks is highlighting packaging sustainability two ways this 2022 holiday season, with collectible, recycled-content reusable cups, as well as lightweighted paper cups in four festive designs.

The promotional cups — both the polypropylene (PP) reusable version and the paper hot cups — are part of Starbucks’ commitment to reducing waste by 50% by 2030.

The company offers a limited-edition, personal reusable cup (aka “reusable red cup”) every holiday season, with one unique design each year. The design this year is a red cup with a green-and-white Starbucks logo on the front and a sprinkling of white starry shapes.

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“This year’s reusable red cup, which is made with 50% recycled content, features a white ornament design and a celebratory message to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Starbucks’ holiday cups,” says a Starbucks spokesperson.

The anniversary message and “proudly made with 50% recycled material” appear on the back of the reusable cup, together with text indicating the cup is recyclable where PP is collected.

This holiday season is the fifth year for Starbucks’ limited-edition reusable red cup giveaway. Consumers who ordered a hand-crafted holiday or fall beverage at participating US Starbucks stores on Starbucks Red Cup Day, which was November 17 this year, received the 16-oz reusable cup for free.

As with any reusable cup, customers who bring their 2022 reusable red cup to Starbucks receive a 10-cent discount on their order — plus 25 bonus stars for Starbucks Rewards members using the Starbucks app.

“Sustainability is part of our DNA and has been so for 30-plus years,” the spokesperson says. “Reusable cups are an important component of our overall waste reduction strategy, and Starbucks has offered a discount to those who bring their own cup since 1985.”


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Paper hot cups are now lighter.

Every holiday season for the past 25 years, Starbucks has also offered holiday-themed paper cups for hot beverages.

This year, the paper hot cups’ gift-inspired graphics include wavy ribbons, star bursts, sparkles, diamond shapes, ornaments, and evergreen trees. The palette for the hot cups is seasonal colors plus mint green, and a gift tag is printed on the back of each cup.

In alignment with its sustainability goals, Starbucks this year reduced the amount of material in the paper hot cup and its liner, and also boosted the cups’ recycled content from 10% to 30%. In addition, the cups are made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper.

For the 2022 holiday season, these cups are in 20% of Starbucks’ stores in major cities, including Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Cleveland.

Starbucks plans to roll out its new, more sustainable hot cups to the remainder of its US stores, for year-round use, by the end of 2024.

About the Author(s)

Kate Bertrand Connolly

Freelance Writer

Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.

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