Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Starbucks: No more plastic straws

Starbucks: No more plastic straws

A week after its hometown banned plastic drinking straws and utensils, the Seattle company said Monday that by 2020, it will be using straws made from biodegradable materials like paper and specially designed lids. Straws, though, will still be available - made from paper or compostable plastic.

Starbucks predicts that it will eliminate more than 1 billion straws yearly. Its beverages will feature recyclable lids featuring a raised lip, like those pictured here.

In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts.

Seattle and Vancouver, Canada locations will be the first of Starbucks 28,000 stores worldwide to see the new strawless lids. It will be implemented in Seattle and Vancouver beginning this fall, the company said.

Engineers successfully developed a "cleaner, less-ridged version of a hot cup lid", and decided to make it the standard for all iced drinks except the Frappuccino, totally phasing out straws by the year 2020. Starbucks said it has committed more than $10 million to this initiative so far.

Some Starbucks drinks, like cold brew with cold foam, are already served in cups with strawless lids.

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A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws.

"Starbucks ('s) decision to phase out single-use plastic straws is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic", said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program.

Other communities across the country, including Sanibel Island, located in Florida, are also on the list of places considering a ban on these plastic products.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space".

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