Starbucks to ditch plastic straws by 2020

The Seattle-based coffee company anticipates the move will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year.

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July 9, 2018
Carrie George

Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co. has announced it will eliminate single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores by 2020. The company anticipates the move will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from its stores.

“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,” says Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks.

Starbucks says it 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 the draft nitro and cold foam cold brews. The company says 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 its frappuccino blended beverages and available by request for customers who prefer or need a straw.

According to Starbucks, customers in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to see the strawless lids implemented, starting this fall, with phased rollouts within the U.S. and Canada to follow in fiscal year 2019. A global rollout of the strawless lid will follow, beginning in Europe where strawless lids will arrive in select stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the U.K.

 “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 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space,” says Nicholas Mallos, director of Washington-based Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program.