The people have spoken, and they're sick of plastic straws.
Starbucks is moving to eradicate sustainability's enemy No. 1 by 2020, the coffee chain announced Monday, revealing that it will phase out straws in favor of sippy cup-like lids. The move comes after Starbucks' birthplace of Seattle officially banned plastic straws, and the company says this will save more than 1 billion straws from the landfill.
Starbucks first unveiled the new lids in 2016, using them on foam-topped drinks in just one Seattle store. The lipped lid now lets customers sip cold foam off Nitro drinks in most North American shops, per the announcement. By 2020, every iced drink except Frappuccinos will be served strawless, while Frappucinos will come with either paper or composted plastic straws made from plant material.
Additionally, any customer will be able to request a sustainable straw for any drink. Starbucks is currently testing the new straws in the U.K.
The new lids are made of plastic, Starbucks' packaging director acknowledges — but unlike straws, these lids can be recycled. Hot coffee drinkers can note that Starbucks has invested $10 million in developing a recyclable and compostable cup to replace its current wax-lined version. In the meantime, the company is charging paper cup users in London a bit extra to encourage them to bring reusable tumblers.
We'll drink to that. Kathryn Krawczyk