No More Plastic Straws For Starbucks

Starbucks
Suzi Pratt / Getty Images North America

Starbucks released a statement Monday announcing that the coffee corporation will no longer be using plastic straws. Starbucks plans to get rid of straws from every store by the year 2020.

Instead of straws, Starbucks will be implementing a “strawless” lid for all iced beverages. The lid is compostable and is already being used in 8,000 of their 28,000 stores worldwide for the Draft Nitro and Cold Foam beverages. These new lids are part of Starbuck’s $10,000,000 initiative to produce more compostable and recyclable cups, eliminating the use and manufacture of billions of plastic straws every year.

This new initiative is inspired by Seattle’s recent ban on plastic straws, where Starbucks has its headquarters. President and chief executive officer of the coffee conglomerate, Kevin Johnson, commented, “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.”

Additionally, Starbucks plans to introduce straws made out of compostable materials, which will only be available upon request.

Starbucks’ ultimate goal is to reduce waste and protect marine wildlife.

Erin Simon, director of sustainability research at World Wildlife Fund, U.S. said, “Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species. As we partner with Starbucks in waste reduction initiatives such as Next Gen Consortium Cup Challenge and WWF’s Cascading Materials Vision, we hope others will follow in their footsteps.”

The director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, Nicholas Mallos, noted that Starbucks’ plan to eliminate plastic straws “is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic.” Mallos continued, “With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space.”

While this announcement is the most sizable effort, Starbucks has a history of working toward and promoting sustainability. The company has long encouraged customers to bring in reusable cups and their coffee is 99 percent ethically-sourced. In addition, current Starbucks cups contain 10 percent post-consumer fiber or recycled paper.

Stores in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to implement these new measures in the fall, phasing out the use of plastic straws in 2019. The UK, France, and the Netherlands will be among the first countries in Europe to introduce the new compostable strawless lids. The UK also plans to expand their 5 pence charge for paper to-go cups to around 950 stores.