All the Changes Starbucks Made to Its Cold Cups and Lids to Reduce Plastic and Help Visually-Impaired People

The Starbucks tall, grande and venti cups will now all use the same lid

<p>Starbucks</p> Starbucks


Starbucks' new cold cups

Starbucks is making some cool changes to its cold cups.

The coffee maverick upgraded its iced drink cups to use less plastic — and the new containers will start popping up in stores later in April.

The new tall, grade, venti and trenta cups use 10 to 20 percent less plastic than the previous containers, per a press release. The minor change really adds up — it will keep more than 13.5 million pounds of plastic from landfills annually, Starbucks said.

While the amount of plastic may be significantly cut, the Starbucks innovation team looked to make sure that the cups still felt sturdy, a feat which they claim to have achieved. Only the tall-sized cup will actually look different — this one is redesigned with a wider mouth — and the other sizes have the same shape as the old cold cups.

In addition to using less plastic, the production is also cleaner. According to a statement, the process is projected to reduce emissions and conserve water compared to when producing the old cups.

Related: Starbucks Adds New Spicy Lemonades — and Announces All Drinks Are Buy One Get One Free on Thursday

The cups, which are rolling out everywhere over the course of the year, took four years to create and are part of Starbucks commitment to cut its carbon, water and waste footprint in half by 2030. The coffee chain has made several sustainable shifts over the last few years, like moving away from paper cups in 2022 and converting iced beverages to strawless lids in 2020.

While the change is partially driven by sustainability, there are other updates to the cold cups that benefit the coffee makers and coffee drinkers.

<p>Starbucks</p> New design details on Starbucks' cold cups


New design details on Starbucks' cold cups

They are designed with visually impaired people in mind. Each cup will have raised dots on the side (for customers) and an embossed letter on the bottom (for baristas making drinks) that signify the size. Plus, there are black and white “fill lines” on the sides of the cups so they can be seen whether the beverage is light or dark.

Also, the tall, grande and venti cups will all use the same lid so customers won’t have the headache of heading out of the stores and grabbing the wrong size.

Starbucks’ new Spicy Lemonade Refreshers and spicy cream cold foam are the perfect drinks to try out the new cups. The limited-time drinks, which were first introduced on April 16, get their heat from a spicy chili powder blend.

<p>Starbucks</p> Starbucks Spicy Lemonade Refreshers


Starbucks Spicy Lemonade Refreshers

The Spicy Lemonade Refreshers — available in dragon fruit, pineapple and strawberry — add the spicy blend with lemonade. Specifically, the Spicy Dragon Fruit Lemonade Refresher also incorporates mango and dragon fruit flavors and dragon fruit pieces; the Spicy Pineapple Lemonade Refresher has pineapple and passion fruit flavors and pineapple pieces; and the Spicy Strawberry Lemonade Refresher combines strawberry and acai flavors and strawberry pieces.

Starbucks cold foam is mixed with the same chili powder blend that the Refreshers have to personalize your drink order with some heat. Just like the original cold foam, the spicy cream cold foam can be added to any iced beverage.

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