Starbucks Is Letting You Borrow Cups at Gatwick for Free and You Just Know They'll Get Stolen

By Shabana Arif on at

In an effort to do its bit for the environment, Starbucks is trialling reusable cups for its customers at Gatwick airport, saying that it could cut down on 7,000 paper cups if people cooperate.

The month-long trial will roll out in Gatwick's South Terminal, with Starbucks teaming up with environmental non-profit Hubbub to provide the reusable cups for customers to borrow, that can then be chucked into drop-off points dotted around the terminal once they've been drained - which includes the Starbucks stores themselves.

The cups will be washed and sterilised, ready to provide a steaming hot load of coffee into the mouth of the next eco-conscious customer. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea - or coffee in this case - you can opt for a paper cup and pay the 5p charge that Starbucks tacked onto them last year.

"The purpose of working with Hubbub and Gatwick is to help create a new culture of reuse on the go by giving customers the option of a reusable cup instead of paper for free," said Jaz Rabadia MBE, UK senior manager of energy and sustainability at Starbucks.

"We are optimistic that the 'Cup Check-In' points around the airport will provide enough places for customers to return their cups on the way to their gate, but also recognise this might not for everyone. Our goal is to save 7,000 disposable cups over the course of the month to find out the best ways to drive reuse where it is typically harder to do so – such as airports.”

The coffee chain is aiming to release 2,000 cups into the wilds of the South Terminal, saying that if only 250 people opt-in at the till each day, those 7,000 paper cups being saved could become a reality.

"We want to find out whether people will get on board with reusing cups, if we make it easy and convenient," added Hubbub CEO and co-founder, Trewin Restorick. "The airport is the ideal environment to trial a reusable cup scheme, as it is a closed loop environment and has the potential to reduce large volumes of paper cup waste. What we learn here will provide valuable insight into how to deploy a reusable trial in not only other airports, but many other environments.”

This certainly sounds a whole hell of a lot more convenient than trying to find space in your baggage for you own reusable cup, and faffing about with that as you wait in line for your hit of the brown stuff.