Starbucks now charging for single-use paper cups in the Czech Republic

The coffee chain wants to encourage reusable cups, and will support the planting of trees in the Czech landscape.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 21.07.2021 13:48 (updated on 21.07.2021)

Coffee-to-go at Czech outlets for Starbucks will cost slightly more, but only if you have it in a disposable paper cup. The one-crown fee will be used to plant trees. People who consume beverages at the cafe in a reusable cup or people who bring their own reusable cup won’t pay the fee.

Starbucks hopes to encourage more people to stop using disposable cups. Previously the company reduced its use of plastic and switched to paper wherever possible, but single-use paper still has an impact on the environment. Trees need to be cut down to create the paper, and recycling the cups takes energy. Many paper cups, even though they are potentially recyclable, wind up in landfills or as trash in the landscape.

“Since 2008, we have been offering every customer the opportunity to have a drink prepared in their own cup and, in addition to helping the environment, save CZK 10 for each drink. This option is very popular among customers, and its popularity is growing by 100 percent year-on-year,” Starbucks said on its Czech website.

“In connection with our global commitment to become a completely ‘resource-positive’ company by 2030, we are introducing a one-time fee for disposing of paper cups. We donate all the proceeds from this fee to the Sázíme Budoucnost initiative and its projects for planting trees and restoring the Czech landscape,” Starbucks added.

Sázíme Budoucnost, which translates to “betting on the future.” is aiming at planting over 10 million trees in the Czech Republic, one for every person in the country. So far, they say they have planted 1.1 million trees. Their website points out the many benefits of trees, not only in cleaning the air but also for flood control, erosion prevention, and creating homes for wildlife.

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Starbucks has been charging 5 pence fee, or approximately CZK 1.5, in the UK since 2018, and last year the chain began charging for cups in Germany.

"During the British pilot test, which lasted three months, there was a 126 percent increase in the use of people’s own cups and tumblers, which in turn was reflected in a decrease in the total amount of waste produced," Michal Holotík, Starbucks brand manager for the Czech and Slovak markets, told news server Seznamzpravy.

Will a CZK 1 fee encourage you to bring a reusable cup to Starbucks?

Yes 20 %
No 58 %
I already use a reusable cup 9 %
I don't get beverages to go 14 %
102 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

The domestic cafe chain Crosscafe offers a CZK 5 discount for people who bring their own containers. The chain’s director David Štangler told Seznamzpravy that a fee for paper cups isn’t currently under consideration.

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Prague City Hall has made its own initiatives to reduce single-use plastic waste from city sponsored events. All dishes and cutlery since the end of 2019 must be reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

A European Union directive has been in force since July 2, 2021, prohibiting the sale of many single-use plastic items. The Czech Republic has not yet passed the relevant legislation to harmonize its laws with the directive, but many retailers are no longer carrying the listed items.

Starbucks was established in the US state of Washington in 1971.The company launched in the Czech Republic in 2008. As of September 2020, the company had 32,660 stores in 83 countries. The name Starbucks comes from a character in the seafaring novel Moby Dick. The logo according to the company is a siren and not a two-tailed mermaid. A two-tailed mermaids is technically called a melusine. 

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