Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Starbucks: Goodbye plastic straws

The last straw? Starbucks pledges to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020 Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in all stores by 2020 | TheHill
Sandy Nunez | 11 July, 2018, 18:02

Starbucks, while not under similar pressure on straws specifically, pulled the trigger to eliminate plastic straws across the board in response to a plastic ban in Seattle (Starbucks' home base).

The global coffee giant said that it plans to eliminate all single-use plastic straws by 2020, and will instead cap cold drinks with lids that do not require the use of a straw. Well, that would be by way of a new so-called "strawless lid", which will become standard for all iced coffee, tea, and espresso beverages, according to a news release.

"Today, I am thrilled to celebrate Starbucks' bold leadership for Clean Seas with its commitment to phase out its plastic straws by 2020", actor Adrian Grenier, who has been vocal about Starbucks' straw use, said in a press release on behalf of As You Sow, a nonprofit that encourages shareholder advocacy.

News of the Starbucks move comes as Seattle recently enacted a ban on the use of straws in the city.

The strawless lid, which features a raised lip, is already available in more than 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for select beverages.

To comply with the July 1 plastic straw ban, Starbucks stores in Seattle are offering customers new compostable straws, splash sticks and cutlery. A global implementation will follow, beginning in Europe.

Adam Harris, a customer at the location Monday afternoon, said he agrees with the company's initiative to remove plastic straws from its stores.

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Cutting back on single-use plastic, like plastic straws, utensils and bags, is necessary to curb the overwhelming ocean pollution that threatens marine life.

Alternatives to plastic straws have also been on the rise-think straws made of paper, bamboo, glass and metal.

And therefore, in one of the company's first moves towards this goal, they have introduced a new cup for their cold brews.

The chain has also invested in the NextGen Cup challenge, a project which aims to develop fully recyclable containers for hot beverages. Other environment-friendly alternatives to plastic straws will include compostable straws and reusable cold cups, said the brand.

In the United Kingdom, the change aligns with the retailer's "latte levy", which charges customers five pence for disposable cups in effort to encourage them to use reusable ones instead.

"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.