Starbucks ditching plastic straws out of environmental concerns

  • Starbucks ditching plastic straws out of environmental concerns

Starbucks ditching plastic straws out of environmental concerns

By 2020, consumers will no longer be able to get single-use plastic straws at all Starbucks stores globally.

The coffee giant has announced it will eliminate all plastic straws from its 28,000 global stores, saving an estimated one billion straws each year.

The Seattle-based company will implement the lids for all cold, non-blended drinks first at its hometown and Vancouver locations this fall, with phased rollouts within the USA and Canada to follow next year.

The new lid, which has already begun circulating in over 8,000 stores in the USA, will be provided with all iced drinks except for Frappucinos. These straws will be available for drinks such as the Frappuccino that are meant to be consumed via straw and will be available on request.

"There are several of these single-use items the public is realising, hey, we don't actually need these, " said Denise Hardesty, a scientist with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which studies plastic pollution.

That's when Seattle's ban on restaurants providing plastic straws went into effect, part of an effort to protect ocean wildlife.

As well as the lid innovation, Starbucks has invested $10 million to conjure the design of a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup.

But plastic straws make up a relatively small proportion of overall ocean debris: Data from California's coastal cleanup day, for example, shows that straws account for just 4% of waste.

And therefore, in one of the company's first moves towards this goal, they have introduced a new cup for their cold brews.

A global rollout of the strawless lids will follow, beginning in Europe where they will be used in selected stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the United Kingdom.

Seattle, where Starbucks is based, recently became the first city in the country to ban plastic utensils and straws.

Straws made of alternative materials will still be available to customers on request.

In April the United Kingdom outlined plans to eliminate plastic straws and drink stirrers, and McDonald's plans to switch out its plastic straws for paper ones at all locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland later this year. The company has long encouraged customers to bring in reusable cups and their coffee is 99 percent ethically-sourced.