Starbucks will be removing single-use plastic straws from its 28,000 locations worldwide by 2020, the company announced on Monday morning. The corporate coffee/public restroom chain believes "the move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from Starbucks stores."
What will happen to iced and frozen drinks? Here's what Starbucks says:
Starbucks has designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages. The lid is currently available in more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada for select beverages including Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam. The lid is also being piloted for Nitro beverages in additional markets including China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition, Starbucks will begin offering straws made from alternative materials - including paper or compostable plastic - for Frappuccino® blended beverages, and available by request for customers who prefer or need a straw.
The strawless lids will be rolled out to Seattle and Vancouver this fall, and then slowly arrive across the U.S. and Canada in the 2019. Stores outside of the U.S. will then see the new lids, starting with Europe.
Seattle, where Starbucks is headquartered, passed a ban on plastic straws and utensils that went into effect earlier this month.
NYC is currently considering a straw ban. Plastic straws are one of major sources of beach litter and ocean pollution. According to Give A Sip, a campaign started by Wildlife Conservation Society to educate the public about the harmful effects of plastic straws, "At the rate we're polluting, there will be more plastic in the ocean by weight than fish by 2050. And we show no signs of stopping. Experts expect plastic production to increase by 40% over the next decade due to a rise in manufacturing."
"For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways," said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.
The company is already working on a $10 million program to design a fully recyclable and compostable cup. It will be trialing a "5p" fee on takeaway hot drink cups, nicknamed a "latte levy," in London, with rollout to 950 other stores in the United Kingdom, to encourage use of reusable cups.
McDonald's is investigating an alternative to straws and started a test in the U.K. last month. The U.K. may ban plastic straws, as well as Q-tips, next year.