Starbucks

Strawless lids are coming, too. 

Caitlin Petreycik
Updated March 20, 2019

Starbucks is one step closer to rolling out the sustainable cups they announced were in the works back in July, 2018. In what was a surprise move at the time, the coffee giant teamed up with McDonald's to create something totally recyclable and compostable, and put out a call for eco-friendly ideas in the form of a contest called the NextGen Cup Challenge. (Both McDonald's and Starbucks cups are technically recyclable, but they rarely make it into the appropriate bin—sometimes because components like the straw and lid don't belong there.) Each entry focused on one of three solutions—innovative cup liners, new materials, or reusable cups—and earlier this month, Starbucks narrowed the proposed designs down to 12 finalists. 

And now, Starbucks customers in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and London will help test some of those recyclable, compostable final designs, as the company rolls them out on a trial basis. “It is with great intention that we move forward with highly collaborative and innovative work to bring both recyclable and compostable cups to scale around the world,” Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. “We are reimagining the future for Starbucks, and for the more than 30,000 communities we serve each day, with a great sense of responsibility for a more sustainable planet.”

The company is also working to phase out its signature green plastic straws by 2020. To start, their new recyclable, strawless, sippy cup-style lids (which use nine percent less plastic than the chain's current straw-and-lid combos) will be available in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis and Toronto, while the rest of the U.S. and Canada will receive them by early 2020. Some exceptions: blended drinks like Frappuccinos will still come with straws (although Starbucks is testing alternative straw materials), and plastic straws will be available upon request for customers who need or specifically ask for them.