• Starbucks' pilot program in Tokyo will rent free, reusable cups to customers. 
  • The program aims to cut down on plastic waste by reducing the use of disposable cups. 
  • Starbucks piloted a similar program in Seattle earlier this year.

In 10 Tokyo Starbucks locations, you can 'rent' a reusable stainless steel cup as part of the chain's initiative to slash waste in half by 2030.

To participate in the program, customers need to download the Re&Go service through the Line app, tell the barista that they want to rent a cup, and scan a QR code on the rentable cup through the app. When customers are done with the cup, they leave the cup on a counter at any participating store, and scan a QR code to return it. 

Starbucks then cleans the reusable cups and tumblers before handing them to another customer

A rentable stainless steel Starbucks cup used in a pilot program in Tokyo, Japan.
The app interface for renting a Starbucks cup in Tokyo, Japan.Starbucks

"The service will be free to customers through the initial trial period, and makes choosing reusables as convenient as customers expect from Starbucks," Starbucks said in a press release. 

The program is free and may be rolled out across the country after being tested in Tokyo. Starbucks didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Starbucks also piloted a "Borrow a Cup" program in five Seattle stores for two months in 2021, where customers had to pay a $1 refundable deposit through the Starbucks app to rent a free, reusable cup. 

Starbucks has also implemented other programs to reduce waste, like eliminating single-use plastic straws and donating unsold food to nonprofits like Feeding America to feed people in need.  

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