Starbucks sells reusable BPA-free plastic cups for only $1.00 as part of their Bring Your Own Mug (BYOM) program. Starbucks recognizes that every time a customer re-uses their cup, it keeps one more cup from ending up in a landfill. To make this sustainable behavior even more enticing, Starbucks will even wash your cup and take 10 cents off your coffee purchase.
Saving 10 cents is probably not enough financial incentive to get people to B.Y.O.M., but at least it proves that Starbucks is not looking to profit from not having to give its customers a paper cup. One shouldn't need a financial incentive when the cost of single use paper coffee cups is so high to the planet. Americans consume approximately 14.5 billion cups of coffee every year in disposable paper cups, resulting in ~900 million pounds of waste!
These disposable paper cups account for a large part of the solid waste that makes up 40 percent of the net additions to America's landfills each year. This is largely due to that fact that disposable coffee cups are not recyclable because they have a thin plastic lining to make them waterproof thereby making them non-recyclable.
As if the massive impact on landfills where not enough reason to start using reusable cups, there is also the considerable amount of carbon emissions resulting from the fossil fuels that must be burned to harvest the trees, manufacture, and transport the cups to coffee shops.
All it takes to develop the habit of bringing your own cup is a system. Usually this requires buying two reusable cups in order to have one clean and one in the dishwasher. Since these cups are only $1.00, it is easy to afford two. When you take the clean coffee mug out of the dishwasher, simply put next to your keys so you won't forget it when you leave for the coffee shop.
Let's all support Starbuck's in it's B.Y.O.B. campaign. Maybe even buy your friend a re-usable plastic cup next time you are in line together. Few people know this, but if you are staying at Starbucks to drink your coffee, you can request a ceramic mug for your drink. I think it tastes better than the plastic-lined paper cups anyway.