|▲ Starbucks’ reusable cup|
Starbucks Coffee Korea has selected Jeju Island as the first pilot location for using zero disposable cups, scheduled to be adopted nationwide by 2025.
Starbucks Coffee Korea held a business agreement ceremony for a pilot project to “create a pristine Jeju without disposable cups” at the Starbucks Jeju Seohaean-ro DT store in Yongdamsam-dong in June. The agreement aims to encourage the use of reusable cups by operating Starbucks without disposable cups in Jeju until October 2021 through cooperation with seven public-private organizations. The Ministry of Environment, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, and Korea Airports Corporation have decided to provide support for related policies and logistics.
Starbucks, SK Telecom, and CJ Logistics will actively create an environment for reducing single-use cups through promotions that increase the number of stores that use reusable cups and launching related campaigns in Jeju.
|▲ Jeju Seohaean-ro DT Branch|
As part of the “Better Together” project, which is a mid-to-long-term sustainability strategy until 2025, Starbucks announced in April that it will gradually increase the use of reusable cups in its stores and eliminate disposable cups entirely by 2025. The project selected Jeju Island as its launching pad to kick off the effort.
First, four stores, including Jeju Seohaean-ro DT, Jeju Aewol DT, Jeju Chilseong, and Jeju Hyeopjae, are chosen as pilot stores. They will practice using zero disposable cups in earnest starting July 6th.
In the pilot store, customers will pay a deposit of 1,000 won when purchasing drinks and receive drinks in reusable cups (excluding personal cup users). The deposit can be refunded by returning the used cups to the four pilot stores or to the reusable cup return machines installed inside Jeju Airport. The recovered reusable cups are thoroughly cleaned by a specialized institution before being reused at the store. The deposit can be refunded as the Starbucks card balance, points on the Happy Habit application, or in cash.
Currently, there are 23 Starbucks stores in Jeju. Based on the pilot operation of these four stores, the company will make necessary improvements and plans to extend the zero disposable cup policy across the island by October. It is expected to reduce the use of disposable cups by about 5 million per year when applied to all stores in Jeju Island.
SK Telecom and Happy Connect, a social enterprise, will manufacture and install reusable cup return machines for Starbucks stores and Jeju Airport so that consumers can return the cups conveniently. SK Telecom will be in charge of the overall Happy Habit project, constructing a cup collection and cleaning system and developing a dedicated app, while Happy Connect will be in charge of managerial tasks such as cleaning the reusable cups and managing deposits.
Also, CJ Logistics will take up the fulfillment process, such as storage, collection, and delivery in the circulation of cups from stores to collection machines, washing stations, fulfillment centers, and back to the stores. First, when a consumer returns a cup to the collecting machine, CJ Logistics visits the locations of machines, collects cups, and delivers them to the washing station. Cups that have been washed are picked up and transported to the CJ Logistics Fulfillment Center located in Oedo 2-dong, Jeju-si, then delivered to each store. CJ Logistics plans to add to the eco-friendly nature by introducing electric delivery vehicles in the future.
Minister of Environment Han Jeong-ae attended the signing ceremony and said, “Now is the time for all of us to distance ourselves from single-use products and take charge in creating a circular economy that uses multi-use products.” She remarked, “I hope this zero-disposable-cup café project will instill the culture of resource circulation in our daily lives and spread it throughout society.”
Jeju Provincial Governor Won Hee-ryong said, “I am happy that an effort to improve environmental issues, which must be practiced and resolved, is initiated in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province.” He anticipated that “the pilot project starting in our province will become the standard for related nationwide projects in the future.” Furthermore, Won vowed to “strive to create pristine environments in Jeju as well as Korea through the cooperation of public and private sectors.”
According to Starbucks CEO Song Ho-seop Song, “Starbucks has been seeking sustainable solutions to reduce single-use products and create an eco-friendly ecosystem, while striving to attract more customers to participate.” He added, “We will take the lead so that this agreement, generating synergy from the expertise of public and private institutions, becomes a new paradigm that suggests a positive direction.”
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