Starbucks is set to remove all plastic straws from stores by 2020. Photo: Starbucks
Starbucks is planning to remove all plastic straws from their 28,000 stores by the year 2020. In place of them, plastic lids deemed "adult sippy-cups" on social media, along with straw-like alternatives made of different materials. This will affect all cold drinks, other than Frappuccinos. With their usual-green pigmented straws being replaced by paper, or other environmentally-friendly material.
Consumers in the US use over 175 billion straws a year, contributing to the 14 billion pounds of garbage dumped into the ocean each year. Starbucks deciding to replace their straws with new lids would phase out over 1 billion pounds of straws a year. "Starbucks’ 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.
The Seattle-based company also earned some hate on social media, as many users believe the larger-than-straw plastic lids could be more of a hazard to animals. Although the lid is still plastic it is made of a recyclable by nature material, polypropylene. “By nature, the straw isn’t recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible,” said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks.
Starbucks is also suggesting that customers BYOT, bring your own tumbler, to reduce waste even more. They also phased out $1 reusable cups in stores back in 2014. These efforts have payed off, with over 18 million reusable cups sold. Starbucks says Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to see the new lids.