Starbucks has announced that it’s going “strawless.” The company said that it will begin a process of phasing out plastic straws from all its stores by the year 2020. The strategy will help the Starbucks ditch the over 1 billion straws used in its stores each year. The strategy is part of Starbucks’ response to the growing plastic menace in oceans. Scientists have already argued that plastics are the biggest pollutants in oceans and they pose a huge danger to marine life. As a result, several governments around the world have started banning the use of plastics.
Starbuck said that it will transition from flat plastic lids to lids that feature a raised lip that people can drink from. The new designs are already being compared to adult sippy cups and Starbucks thinks that the cups will provide the best possible transition from straws in the coming two to three years.
According to the company, Frappuccinos will be served using the traditional dome lids. However, instead of giving customers plastic straws, the company says that it will offer paper and compostable plastic straws instead. In addition to this, coffee drinkers who still prefer the straws even with the new lid design will have the chance to request for more eco-friendly options. It’s not clear whether this will cost them more or not.
There are some Starbucks drinks that are already being served with strawless lids. Cold brew with cold foam drinks, for example, have been served without straws for quite some time now. Starbucks confirmed that the “strawless” strategy will start rolling out this fall. The first stores to be targeted will be in Vancouver and Seattle.
The company’s CEO Kevin Johnson called the strategy a “significant milestone” in Starbucks’ sustainability efforts. The company has already committed $10 million to fund the development of eco-friendly coffee cups for its hot drinks. Going “strawless” is part of a wider effort by the company to play its part in environmental sustainability.
However, Starbucks is not the only company that has decided to ditch the use of plastics. Just last month, McDonald’s, one of the largest fast food chains in the world, announced that it would start switching from plastic straws to paper straws for its beverages. The plan will start rolling out in the UK and Ireland before making its way to other parts of the world. The announcement by McDonald’s came barely weeks after the UK government announced a plan to ban the use of plastic straws in the country. The European Union is also considering a ban on some plastic items including straws but nothing concrete has been announced yet.
The US is also putting more restrictions on plastic items through local governments around the country. Seattle, for example, announced a ban on plastic straws and utensils that went into effect last week. The cities of Oakland and Berkeley in California have also banned the use of disposable straws with other cities in the US expected to do the same thing. The UK noted during its announcement to ban plastic straws that there were about 1 million bird deaths each year directly associated with plastics and over 100,000 marine deaths. This is definitely a big problem.