Cutting down on energy costs can be a tiresome affair. You’ve checked out your equipment (if you haven’t, you can find great rebates on energy-efficient equipment here), you’ve talked to your staff about sustainable initiatives; now what? Here’s what one member of the foodservice industry is doing to make their job easier and cut down on energy costs.

Empowering customers to help reduce energy consumption

Have you ever wondered how you can get customers to save you money? Well, in the latest move from the coffee corporation that is said to be on every corner, Starbucks shows foodservice members how to incorporate customers into a long-term strategy that lessens energy costs by reducing waste to landfill.

According to reports by Green Biz and the Huffington Post, earlier this month Starbucks began offering “personal tumblers” to North American customers for $1 each. While the store already offers discounts to environmentally conscience customers who bring in their own mug, offering this low-priced alternative to the Starbucks disposable cup encourages customers to help the business lower costs while lessening their carbon footprint. Genius! Right?

Are Starbucks customers excited about the initiative?

While, in 2008, Starbucks had set an initial goal of replacing all disposable cups by 2015, this goal was lowered to 5% after meeting the initial target of 25% proved too challenging. The good news is that customers brought their own cups into stores more than 34 million times in 2011, saving 1.5 million pounds of paper waste from the landfill. The bad news is, they still have a ways to go.

This time around, according to the Huffington Post and a survey commissioned by Starbucks, more than one quarter of Americans have already bought or plan to buy a reusable cup. That being said, only 2% are reported to have actually purchased the cup to date and 66% of survey participants hadn’t heard about the cup at all. In Toronto, however, introducing a reusable cup sure seems like a popular idea! BizEnergy went to snap a picture of the new tumblers at a local Starbucks only to find that they were already sold out.

Are you a member of the foodservice industry who has come up with a creative way to engage your customers in energy and cost reduction strategies? We’d love to hear about it! Leave your comments below.

Interested in reading more about Starbucks and their sustainable policies? Check out our interview with the Director of Environmental Affairs!

image credit: shuttermob