Starbucks' paper coffee cups aren't as easy to recycle as you may think. That's because it's challenging to separate the outer paper part from the thin plastic liner used on the inside to keep any hot beverage from seeping through. The chain hopes to change all of that with a new prototype it's testing, starting Monday, per the Wall Street Journal, which adds that the company "hopes customers won't notice." This greener beverage holder—which will see a test run in select locations in Seattle, New York, San Francisco, London, and Vancouver—will swap out that interior plastic liner for a biodegradable one, created out of renewable material that's melted down and then laid out on paperboard. Starbucks plans on keeping tabs on how the new cups are faring by asking baristas and customers if they're leaking and and/or keeping drinks hot.
On the flip side, environmentally conscious customers who diligently bring their reusable cups whenever they visit their local Starbucks will have to put that routine on hold for a while: The chain announced last week that, for the time being, it's not allowing the use of personal cups and tumblers at its locations around the globe to help slow the spread of coronavirus, CNN Business reports. "We are optimistic this will be a temporary situation," Rossann Williams, president for the company's US and Canada businesses, said in an open letter. She added that customers can still bring in and show their reusable cups to receive their 10-cent discount on beverage purchases. (Read more Starbucks stories.)