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Starbucks Is Charging a Paper Cup Fee at Select Locations

Are you willing to pay a little bit more at Starbucks for your grande hot caramel macchiato in the possible near future? Because the coffee giant could tack on a small fee to your hot drinks — for a good cause.

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In an effort to be more eco-friendly and lessen its impact on the environment, Starbucks is testing a paper cup fee at select locations. Starting this month, 35 Starbucks stores in London began charging a 5 pence (or 7 cents) fee to those who ordered a drink served in paper cups. According to a press release, this trial will last for three months.

“We recognize that there is growing concern about the number of single-use paper cups being used and that our customers are interested in ways that we can help them reduce, reuse and recycle,” the press release states.

The money raised by the cup charge will be donated to Hubbub, an environmental charity that will use the funds to run a study to help determine if the fee encourages customers to bring and use their own reusable cups. In addition to the study, Starbucks baristas will also offer ceramic cups to those drinking their coffee in-store in an effort to cut down on paper.

“We’re hoping that this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic-lined cups, as it has with plastic bags,” Simon Redfern, vice president of communications at Starbucks Europe, tells The Guardian. “We’ve offered a reusable cup discount for 20 years, with only 1.8 percent of customers currently taking up this offer, so we’re really interested in working with Hubbub to see how this charge could help to change behavior and help to reduce waste.”

Research found that almost half (48 percent) of Starbucks customers said they would carry a reusable cup to avoid paying the extra fee.

With this extra fee, in addition to the 10-cent discount to those customers who bring in their own reusable mug, they hope to further cut down waste. According to The Guardian, Starbucks uses 2.5 billion disposable cups every year. And these paper cups aren’t recycled because they have a lining that is very difficult to remove.

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Starbucks has not announced whether the fee will hop overseas to the U.S.; but if it does, we doubt anyone wouldn’t be willing to pay a little extra to better our environment.

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