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

It's long been a source of contention.

Quite a few companies make sanctimonious declarations about how they operate, but then it's revealed that they're not quite as environmentally friendly as they appear.

For years, Starbucks has offered customers cups that aren't so recyclable.

The problem is the thin layer of plastic film on the cup, there to keep drinks warm.

Starbucks has been confounded by the issue.

Last year, the company announced it's holding a competition for someone to design an answer.

Charging Brits, that is. (The proceeds go to an environmental charity.)

Now, Starbucks is going one step further. 

The experiment is being enacted at London's second airport, Gatwick.

In conjunction with environmental charity Hubbub, Starbucks will offer customers the option of a reusable cup. For free. 

You want a paper cup? That'll be the standard charge of 5 British pennies.

The reusable cups will, of course, be washed and sterilized.

In some sense, the aim of this trial is modest. As Jaz Rabadia, the company's UK Senior Manager of Energy and Sustainability, explained: 

Our goal is to save 7,000 disposable cups over the course of the month to find out the best ways to drive reuse where it is typically harder to do so -- such as airports.

For this to be a success, then, a mere 250 people a day have to participate.

The only effort they have to make is to ask for a reusable cup and then deposit it at one of the designated Cup Check-In points.

What are the chances of finding 250 upstanding travelers who want to contribute to saving the Earth?

Then again, however much humans claim to be Earth-loving, this may not always be the case.

The problem for some people is that they don't have time -- or can't be bothered -- to put the existing cups into the dry recycling bins.

The biggest barrier here might be psychological.

We drink from reusable cups and mugs at home every day. When we go to restaurants, the glasses we drink out of have been used by hundreds and thousands of people before us.

Can we, though, employ the same logic with our Starbucks cups?

If Starbucks can't find 250 people a day to do it, the answer may be no.

Published on: Jun 11, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.