No plastic straws at Starbucks? You better believe it

Within the next few years, don’t be surprised if you can’t find Starbucks’ signature green straws in its outlets anymore. The company, a household name in the world of franchise coffee companies, announced on 9 July that it aims to phase out single-use plastic straws in its stores worldwide by 2020. It estimated that this would eliminate more than 1 billion straws a year.

Here’s what you need to know about the new policy.

Read also: Starbucks Korea reintroduced its avocado ice-blended drink

Where will it start?

Starbucks outlets in its hometown, Seattle, and in Vancouver, Canada will be the first to implement the ban. A new cleverly designed plastic lid that apparently won’t give you a foam moustache will replace the straws. Other Starbucks locations will eventually follow suit through 2020.

Starbucks strawless lid
Cold drinks with no straws? How will you survive? Spoiler alert: you will. Photo: Starbucks

What about Frappucinos?

Starbucks’ ice blended drinks will still be served with a paper straw or ones made from compostable plastic. However, for these to have any effect in the reduction of waste, users need to maintain responsible disposal of recyclables.

How are plastic lids any better than plastic straws?

You’ve got a sound argument there, but here’s the thing. Single-use plastic straws are generally too lightweight to be correctly sorted in the recycling process, according to global movement For A Strawless Ocean. However, plastic lids are large enough to be sorted properly. Starbucks’ new lid is made from recyclable plastic, making it far more sustainable than plastic straws.

Read also: How to build the ultimate traveller’s Zero Waste kit

That’s not all from Starbucks

The company has actively been working on sustainable alternatives for its beverage packaging. Among its efforts is a 5p paper cup charge in London, which will be implemented in 950 UK stores this month.

Starbucks no straw lid
It’s an adult sippy cup, basically. (Photo: Starbucks)

Who else is on Team No Straw?

It isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are a few names you might be familiar with.

#1 Seattle, United States
On 1 July, the whole of Seattle, Washington became the first major US city to implement a plastic straw ban.

#2 Hilton Hotels
The hotel giant pledged to remove plastic straws from its 650 properties around the world by the end of 2018.

#3 McDonald’s
The fast-food chain is planning on phasing out plastic straws in the UK. Its goal by 2025 is to provide packaging that is made from renewable, recycled sources.

#4 KFC Singapore
The KFC franchise in Singapore stopped providing plastic caps and straws for drinks (although plastic caps were still provided for takeaway drinks).

#5 Penang, Malaysia
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s response to a proposal to ban single-use plastic food and beverage packaging is simple: “Just do it.” A 2015 study placed Malaysia 8th in a list of 20 countries with the worst mismanaged plastic waste.

#6 India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to have India eliminate single-use plastic in the country by 2022. India ranks 12th on that plastic waste mismanagement list we mentioned earlier.

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Andrea Tim

Andrea is a serial kopi peng drinker (for fun, not for the caffeine; coffee doesn't wake her up) and believer in keyboard shortcuts. She sees The Dress as blue and black, and hears both Yanny and Laurel. Make of that what you will.

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