As Starbucks continues to shift toward using less single-use packaging, the company is taking one big step to eliminate plastic straws. For most of Starbucks' cold sips, the time has come to part with that iconic green straw. But if you're wondering if Starbucks is banning straws completely, here's everything to know about the switch.
Starbucks announced the latest shift to strawless lids on Thursday, Sept. 10. The coffee company tested the recyclable tops in select markets across the United States and Canada over the last year, and is officially rolling them out in favor of plastic straws and lids to its company-operated and licensed stores. Starbucks customers nationwide should see the new strawless lids come on all of the chain's iced beverages, including iced coffees, teas, espresso-based drinks, and Starbucks Refreshers. They're expected to be fully rolled out by the end of September.
As for the question of a full-out straw ban, that's not what Starbucks is calling this. In fact, Frappuccinos will still come with a domed lid made from recyclable plastic and a plastic straw (unless your area has prohibited straws by local law). Additionally, if you need a straw for your beverage for any reason, they will remain available by request.
In line with the company's goal to reduce waste sent to landfills, the Starbucks strawless lid is recyclable and uses approximately 9% less plastic than the previous flat lid and straw. Plastic straws can't be recycled, because they're too small and lightweight, but the new strawless lids are made from polypropylene, a lightweight recyclable plastic that meets the Association of Plastic Recyclers design guidelines for recyclability.
This latest move is part of Starbucks' multi-decade sustainability plan announced in January, which aims to reduce 50% of its landfill waste by 2030. According to Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, many plastic straws end up on beaches and in waterways. In fact, since the creation of the International Coastal Cleanup in 1986, one of the Ocean Conservancy's programs, volunteers have removed more than 9 million straws and stirrers from beaches and waterways as of February 2018.
Starbucks locations around the world have been making the switch for a while now, with Starbucks Korea opting for strawless lids and paper straws in 2018, and locations across the UK and Europe adopting straws made of alternative materials in 2019. The company plans to continue rolling out these more sustainable options to more markets in the future.
If you're heading into Starbucks to grab a cuppa with a new strawless lid, make sure you follow the coronavirus safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of Aug. 3, which includes wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing whenever possible, and implementing regular hand washing. If you can, order your drinks using a pay ahead method such as curbside pick-up or delivery, and wash your hands after handling your to-go packaging. You can also check Starbucks' current coronavirus policies before heading in.
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