Starbucks Just Announced It's Going To Charge For Cups

Chris Matyszczyk

Now this will make customers think. Or will it?

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

You go to Starbucks every morning.

You buy your life-saving bean-based potion.

And what do you do with the cup?

Many people just throw them away. They don't recycle them.

Worse, many of the cups aren't easily recyclable. They not just made of paper. There's a thin layer of plastic on them to keep your drink warm.

Starbucks, for example, knows the problem.

It already offers a 25-cent discount to those who bring their own cups.

Now, it's decided to take more drastic measures.

It's going to start charging 5 British pennies for every cup.

This effort will begin in February and is limited to around 20-25 stores in London.

Who can doubt, though, that this will spread far and wide?

As the BBC reports, this initiative is a reaction to British Members of Parliament recommending a 25-pence so-called "latte levy" on disposable cups.

In the UK, we're talking about 2.5 billion cups being tossed away.

In the U.S., Starbucks alone is said to enjoy 4 billion cups cast aside to rest where they may.

So who would be surprised if this initiative came to America?

After all, many cities already impose charges on plastic bags. Would it really be such a stretch to see customers pay for their disposable cups?

I wonder, though, how much of a difference the charge might make.

5 pence -- or, say, 5 cents in the U.S. -- seems such a small price.

I fear many people may shrug and not count that this might accumulate to a dollar or two a month.

Still, the U.K. insists that it's 5 pence charge for plastic bags has made a significant difference.

In the U.S. too, cities report that plastic bag charges have an enormous effect.

Starbucks says its initiative will last three months, within which time the company should be able to discern some of the results.

Dear Londoners, let me guilt you into caring.

Please compare this tiny charge with the 60 cents extra it costs just to have soy milk in your Starbucks every day.