Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks has announced it will eliminate single-use plastic straws from more than 28,000 company operated and licensed stores by 2020.

In the announcement on 9 July, Starbucks revealed it will by making a strawless lid or alternative-material straw options available around the world. It anticipates the move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from Starbucks 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’ designed strawless lid will become the standard for its iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages. The lid is currently available in more than 8000 stores in the United States and Canada for select beverages including its Draft Nitro and Cold Foam. The lid is also being piloted for Nitro beverages in China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Starbucks will also 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.

Customers in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to see the strawless lids implemented, with phased rollouts within the US and Canada to follow in FY19.

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 United Kingdom, just as the market expands its 5p paper cup charge to 950 stores, to further promote reusability.

According to reports, Starbucks is the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a global commitment.

Director of Sustainability Research and Development and Material Science at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) US, Erin Simon, says Starbucks’ goal to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 represents the company’s forward thinking.

“Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species. As we partner with Starbucks in waste reduction initiatives such as Next Gen Consortium Cup Challenge and WWF’s Cascading Materials Vision, we hope others will follow in their footsteps,” Simon says.

Nicholas Mallos, Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program says with 8 million metric tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year, industries can’t afford to sit on the sidelines.

“We are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space,” Nicolas says.

Starbucks has a 30-year track record of focusing on sustainability across all aspects of its business, including achieving 99 per cent ethically-sourced coffee. In addition to today’s announcement, Starbucks has previously committed $10 million to develop and help bring to market a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup, in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, through the NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge.

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