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Starbucks Just Brought Back This Money-Saving Pre-Pandemic Perk

It's better for your budget and for the planet.

While a caffeinated drink from Starbucks might sometimes taste better than the coffee you can make at home, it's hard to ignore the price of this on-the-go habit. After all, many of the drinks on the menu cost more than $5 for a single cup. Lucky for all the Starbucks fiens out there, the chain is bringing back a pre-pandemic perk that will help bring that price tag down a bit. The reusable cup discounts are back!

In March 2020, just as people were beginning to get a sense of how severe the effects of the coronavirus might turn out to be, the company indefinitely suspended its reusable cup program, an initiative that allows customers to get a 10-cent discount on their coffee order if they bring a reusable mug. Now, the company has announced that it is bringing the program back, but with a contact-minimizing twist.

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The system, already pilot-tested at Starbucks locations in other countries, will run as follows: employees will check your cup for cleanliness, place your cup in a large mug, and using the handle of the mug, fill your cup without touching it. They'll only make contact with your cup when you hand it to them and when they hand it back to you, and you'll hold onto the lid the whole time. The option will be available across the chain's U.S. locations starting June 22, just in time for summer. So you won't have to get your cold brew beverages in a disposable plastic cup.

Of course, in addition to saving you ten cents with each drink order, the program is also a great way to cut back on the environmental impact of your coffee habit, saving you from throwing away a cup and lid each time you order. Starbucks notes that the return of reusable cups is part of the company's goal to reduce its waste by half by 2030.

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Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more about Clara