Starbucks has announced plans to phase out single-use straws, helping address the issue of plastic waste impacting the environment. The ban won’t take place until 2020, after which point Starbucks stores will switch to a type of plastic lid that has a built-in spout. The new straw-less lids are recyclable and will contribute to the elimination of more than a billion plastic straws annually.
Single-use plastics are a major contributor to plastic waste currently filling lakes, oceans, and landfills throughout the planet. These single-use plastics are essential in some cases, such as in medical facilities, but are unnecessary in other instances, including items like plastic straws. Environmental advocates have been calling for the elimination of unnecessary plastic use, but change has been slow.
Starbucks currently offers plastic straws with its cold drinks, which are then typically thrown away after the beverage is finished. Newly designed plastic lids with a drinking spout that eliminates straws present a solution. Starbucks will adopt those lids, as well as “alternative-straw options,” at its more than 28,000 stores. The company has already started using the lids in some stores.
According to the company, more than 8,000 stores in the US and Canada currently offer the straw-free lid option, at least for certain cold beverages. As well, a pilot with the lid is currently underway in places like Thailand, China, Singapore, and Japan. Customers who need a straw will be given a compostable or paper straw option, which will also be used with Frappuccino beverages.
Starting this fall, Starbucks will introduce the new lids at its stores in Vancouver and Seattle. A larger US and Canada rollout will start next year. Certain stores in the Netherlands and France, plus the UK, will also see the lids rolled out.