Starbucks

Get ready for strawless lids.

Elisabeth Sherman
July 09, 2018

As an increasing number of restaurants and chains around the world vow to eliminate plastic straws, all eyes have been on the world's most ubiquitous coffeehouse. In a statement released Monday, Starbucks announced that it will phase out single-use plastic straws from its locations around the world by 2020.

The coffee giant will replace the straws with strawless lids (similar in design to a “sippy cup”) or other plastic-alternatives. The lids are already available in about 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, but could previously only be used on drinks like the Starbucks Draft Nitro cold brew.

They will also offer straws made from compostable plastic and paper for their Frappuccino drinks, which can be requested by people who prefer, or need, to use a straw.

The change, affecting the chain's more than 28,000 locations, will eliminate nearly 1 billion plastic products from Starbucks stores every year.

Starbucks follows a number of major chains who are replacing plastic straws with more environmentally conscious options: McDonald’s recently announced that it will begin testing plastic straw alternatives at locations throughout the U.S., although it has yet to commit to a full ban. This summer, all of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants decided to eliminate plastic straws; and Danny Meyer’s restaurants (which are also leading the movement in cashless payment) also ditched plastic straws back in May.

It’s not just businesses, either, with entire cities also moving against plastic straws, too. Berkeley is considering one such ban, and earlier this month, Seattle instituted a new rule making it unlawful for restaurants and bars to provide plastic utensils of any kind to customers.

“Starbucks is finally drawing a line in the sand and creating a mold for other large brands to follow. We are raising the water line for what’s acceptable and inspiring our peers to follow suit,” Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks, said in a statement.

With Starbucks now leading the charge, perhaps more big-name establishments and fast food chains will consider eliminating plastic. There's no question now that the movement has significant traction, so if you want to get on board with reducing waste in your home, check out how the Food & Wine test kitchen keeps its operations eco-friendly.