Starbucks Phasing Out Plastic Straws By 2020
Global coffee giant Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) has announced that it will be eliminating plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020. Instead of continuing to use its current flat lids with straws, the company is switching over to lids that have a raised lip you can drink from. The new lids will begin rolling out for all drinks this fall.
According to Starbucks, the new strawless lids will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea, and espresso drinks. Some of the company’s specialty drinks, like the Frappuccinos, will still be served with dome lids, but with straws made from paper or compostable plastic. The new eco-friendly straws can be requested for other beverages as well.
The roll out of the new lids will be starting at stores in Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle. A global rollout of strawless lids will follow. Europe will have the first international locations to get the lids, as Starbucks is planning to use them in some stores in France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a “significant milestone” in the company’s sustainability efforts. The move will remove more than 1 billion plastic straws from waste annually. Starbucks has also committed $10 million to the development of recyclable, compostable cups for hot drinks.
The top five biggest sources of single-use plastic are plastic bags, water bottles, to-go containers, to-go cups and straws. Plastic straws have been found to contribute to ocean pollution, posing a danger to marine life. According to the UK government, nearly 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die each year from plastic waste contamination. Studies have estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, when measured by weight.
Several local governments in the United States have enacted bans on disposable straws, including Seattle, WA; Oakland, CA and Berkeley, California. In May, the European Union also suggested a ban on some plastic items, including straws. The bans have caused other companies to reevaluate their use of plastic straws. Last month, McDonald’s said that it would start switching to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with the transition scheduled to be completed in 2019.