How to Use Your Own Cup for Starbucks Drive-Thru and Mobile Orders

Starbucks doesn’t want you to sacrifice sustainability for convenience.
The cup holder is for cleanliness.
The cup holder is for cleanliness. / Starbucks

For years, Starbucks patrons have resigned themselves to sacrificing sustainability whenever they’re grabbing coffee on the go—because it hasn’t been possible to use a reusable cup for drive-thru or mobile orders. 

But since January 3, 2024, you can finally do just that. As NBC News reports, Starbucks baristas in the U.S. and Canada now accept any reusable cup for any order in the drive-thru or mobile app. It’s part of the company’s goal to slash waste in half by 2030. 

“At Starbucks, we envision a future where every beverage can be served in a reusable cup,” Starbucks chief sustainability officer Michael Kobori said in a press release. “Offering customers more options to use a personal cup when they visit Starbucks marks tangible progress toward the future. We know our customers are passionate about the planet, and now, they can join us in our efforts to give more than we take, no matter how they order.”

If the satisfaction of being eco-friendly isn’t quite strong enough to convince you to BYOC, maybe this will: You save 10 cents on your purchase, and Starbucks Rewards members (in the U.S. only) also earn 25 Bonus Stars.

starbucks barista hands drive-thru order to customer
Your reusable mug doesn't have to be an official Starbucks one. / Starbucks

Starbucks has protocols in place to ensure that the process is sanitary from start to finish. For one thing, baristas won’t be washing any customer’s cup for them; if it’s dirty, they won’t accept it. In fact, ideally, baristas shouldn’t be touching your cup at all: You’ll place it without the lid in a “contactless vessel”—basically a cup holder with a handle—and you’ll remove it from that same vessel after your beverage is ready to drink.

Here’s how it actually works. When you order at the drive-thru, just tell the barista you have a reusable cup, which you’ll hand over at the pick-up window. If you’re ordering in the Starbucks app, select “Customization” and then “Personal Cup”; you’ll give your cup to the barista at the mobile order pick-up counter when you arrive. In both cases, the barista will have to wait a little longer to start making your drink—since they can’t start a drive-thru order while you’re inching along from the order window to the pick-up window, and they can’t start a mobile order while you’re en route to the store. So it’s probably a good idea to factor in a few extra minutes for the errand.