Starbucks Latest Company To Abandon The Plastic Straw
Reflecting a growing trend in municipalities and businesses, Starbucks announced on Monday that it would phase out single-use plastic straws at its stores globally by 2020. The company distributes more than one billion plastic straws each year.
The push to phase out plastic straws is growing and reached mainstream attention a few years back when a video went viral of a sea turtle with a straw lodged in its nose—plastic straws never fully decompose and can be harmful or even fatal to wildlife if ingested. Several cities, including Malibu, California; Miami Beach, Florida; and Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle, Washington, have passed ordinances prohibiting or limiting the use of plastic straws or utensils.
“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 is not the only company moving to limit or do away with plastic straws. Walt Disney World, the Smithsonian Institution and Hyatt Hotels have announced plans to eliminate plastic straws or limit them to customers only if they specifically ask for them. Restaurants and other establishments are exploring environmental alternatives, ranging from paper, bamboo, steel and at New York City pub Harlem Public, Twizzlers.
As a replacement for plastic straws, Starbucks has designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages. 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.
Many types of drinking straws are sold within the promotional products industry, including glow-in-the-dark, shaped and other types of novelty straws that encourage retention and reuse, along with bamboo and stainless steel options. Drinkwear overall represents 8.4 percent of the total $23.3 billion in promotional products sales in 2017 and includes many varieties of cups and travel mugs with built-in straws and drink-through lids.