Global coffee chain Starbucks has announced it will phase out plastic straws at all 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020 and will replace them with recyclable lids.
In a statement posted to their website, Starbucks revealed Emily Alexander, an engineer in Global Research & Development, and her team had been working on a recyclable straw-less lid design since 2016.
Bonnie Rochman, a Starbucks spokesperson said: “Amid ongoing company conversations about reducing waste and safeguarding the environment, Starbucks is announcing today that it will phase out plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020, a decision that will eliminate more than 1 billion straws a year. In their place? The lid that Alexander developed.
“From their debut in one initial store, the cold-cup lids now are used for a small number of drinks including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam in more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
“They will become the standard lid for all iced drinks except Frappuccino, which will be served with a straw made from paper or PLA compostable plastic manufactured from fermented plant starch or other sustainable material. Customers who prefer or need a straw can request one made of alternative materials for use with any cold drink.
“Last year in Santa Cruz, Calif., Starbucks started testing out straws made from materials other than traditional plastic. It is now in the middle of testing paper straws in its U.K. stores.”
Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program said: “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.
“With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines.”
The move comes as other global chains tackle their own plastic pollution problem with Pizza Express also announcing that they will remove plastic straws from all restaurant locations.