Starbucks will once again refill reusable personal cups instead of issuing single-use paper cups for every order – a feature that was eliminated once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

And to comply with new health standards, Starbucks has developed a system that eliminates any shared contact points between customers and baristas. When a customer brings in a reusable cup, they’ll be asked to place it in a ceramic mug. The barista keeps the cup inside the mug while they make the drink. When it’s ready, customers pick up their drink from the ceramic mug at the end of the counter and put the lid back on their drink themselves.

“Only clean cups will be accepted,” according to the Starbucks website, and baristas “will not be able to clean them for customers.”

Starbucks' reusable cup

Credit: Courtesy of Starbucks

Additionally, personal, reusable cups will only be accepted in-person at Starbucks locations and not at any drive-thrus at this time.

And for those who need a little extra motivation to pack their own mugs in the morning: customers who bring in their own reusable cups will receive a 10-cent discount on their drink order.

Starbucks' reusable cup

Credit: Courtesy of Starbucks

Customers who choose to dine in a Starbucks location will once again be able to use ceramic “For Here Ware.”

Starbucks has allowed customers to bring in their own mugs since the ’80s but stopped the service due to COVID-19 health concerns. In an attempt to reduce waste, the coffee chain “held extensive trials and has adopted this new process” in a safe way.

Starbucks recently announced its goal of reducing single-cup waste by 50% by 2030.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at

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