top of page

Starbucks Becomes Largest Retailer to Eliminate Plastic Straws

Updated: Jan 1, 2019

Who cares if they never get your name right... they're phasing out single-use plastic straws.

The environmentally conscious change will occur in all 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.

The initiative has made Starbucks the largest retailer to join the global movement against the wasteful plastic. McDonald’s, which is the world’s second largest fast food chain, made headlines back in March for implementing a paper straw pilot program in their UK stores.

Wait... is that a sippy cup?

Sort of.... starting in Seattle and Vancouver, Starbucks stores will begin giving customers a new kind of strawless lid for iced and cold beverages. The strawless lid “is made from polypropylene, a commonly-accepted recyclable plastic that can be captured in recycling infrastructure.”

While blended ice drinks will be distributed using biodegradable straw replacements. So if you're an iced or cold beverage drinker at Sbux - fear not.

Starbucks is estimated to give out more than 1 billion straws every year, since roughly half of their yearly sales are made from iced drinks that are distributed with straws. The announcement of the plastic straw ban is part of the company’s $10 million campaign to be more environmentally responsible with their packaging.

“This is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways,” Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive of Starbucks, said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

The changes are expected to start being implemented in the fall. Just in time for PSL season.

Every year, more than 8 million metric tons of plastic waste gets lost at sea, where it breaks down into microplastics that kill marine life. And while it's true that simply getting rid of all plastic straws in the world won't save the ocean, it's a step in the right direction. And I would never trade that for a step in the opposite direction.

So kudos to Starbucks on being a leader. Let's hope more retailers follow suit.


bottom of page