| South Korea

Starbucks Korea reports record year for reusable cup usage

Starbucks’ Korean business, which operates more than 1,700 coffee shops across the country, has reported a 16% rise in reusable cup use in 2022 as the Seattle-based chain seeks to create a global ‘cultural movement towards reusables’ over the next two years

Starbucks Korea said the cumulative number of reusable cups used across its stores has exceeded 111 million since 2007 | Photo credit: Starbucks Korea


Starbucks Korea CEO Son Jeong-hyun has said the number of customers using reusable cups across its 1,700+ stores is increasing year-on-year. 

Jeong-hyun, who was appointed Starbucks Korea CEO in October 2022, said reusable cups were used more than 25 million times last year — a 16% increase on 2021 and its highest total over a 12-month period. 

Starbucks Korea added that the cumulative number of reusable cups used across its stores has exceeded 111 million since 2007, when it began collecting data. 

In March 2022 Seattle-based Starbucks outlined new initiatives to help reduce waste and carbon emissions across its global portfolio of stores, including piloting reusable cup programmes in six markets. 

The company has pledged to ‘create a cultural movement towards reusables’ by 2025. 


In South Korea, Starbucks’ third largest market globally, the coffee chain has held a ‘Disposable Cup-Free Day’ once a month since 2018 to encourage the use of reusable cups. 

In September 2022 research from South Korea’s Environment Ministry reported the number of disposable cups used across the country surpassed one billion in 2021, a 30% increase on the previous year. 

The government body implemented a deposit scheme for disposable cups at cafés and fast-food chains in December 2022, with additional state-managed incentives introduced in Jeju-do and the city of Sejong to accelerate the scheme’s adoption and incentive consumers. 

The Environment Ministry will award customers 'carbon neutrality action points' - an incentive system where ‘cash or credit card points are given to individuals based on their participation to help reach the net-zero emission goal’.  

The authority plans to fully ban disposable cups, plastic bags, straws and stirrers from cafés and fast-food chains by November 2023. A range of ‘behavioural changes’ have been recommended to small businesses, including not displaying disposable cups in stores. 

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