Jul 10, 2018

Starbucks Announces Plans to Eliminate Plastic Straws

The global coffee company plans to go strawless by 2020 through a new lid design

Starbucks moves to eliminate plastic straws from stores
Starbucks moves to eliminate plastic straws from stores

On July 9, Starbucks announced it plans to eliminate plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020. According to Starbucks, the decision to remove straws will mean a billion fewer plastic straws per year. To eliminate straws, the company will serve cold beverages—excluding frappuccinos—with a new lid featuring a raised lip.

The new lid is already being used for some beverages, such as cold brew with cold foam or nitro, but will be implemented universally beginning this fall in Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, as reported by CNN. While the lids are still made of plastic, its polypropylene content can be recycled. For frappuccinos or customers who need a straw, Starbucks will provide straws made from paper or PLA compostable plastic instead.

“For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways,” said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks.

Starbucks has committed $10 million to the NextGen Cup Challenge which seeks to develop a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup. Additionally, they encourage customers to use reusable tumblers.

Already, other major companies are moving towards strawless. The same day as Starbuck’s announcement, Hyatt announced that single-use plastic straws will only be available on request starting Sept. 1, and last month McDonalds announced it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by 2019. 

The strawless movement is a win for ocean advocates and environmentalists as plastic waste is a global contribution to ocean contamination.

Check out our industry podcast, Talking Under Water, for an episode on pollution in waterways.