Starbucks Says Goodbye to Straws

Aug 17, 2018

With plastic pollution being a massive concern, some companies, governments, and the mass general public has increased their overall awareness for plastic waste. There are about 5.25 trillion microplastic particles (270 tons) currently floating in the ocean due to the world’s obsession with single-use plastic. Not only is this harming our wildlife and planet, it’s affecting human health as well. Starbucks- the mecca of all beverages is on a mission to abolish single-use plastic straws from its 28,000-plus-store location around the world by 2020. Starbucks is the largest food and drink retailer to make such an extensive commitment, and it expects to eliminate more than one billion plastics straws a year according to their press release. When you grab a beverage to go and use a straw it’s doubtful that you’re sitting there thinking about how many straws do food and drink retailers go through… But the saddening truth is that Americans use half a billion plastic straws daily, so if Starbucks can actually help save one billion plastic straws a year, that’s a massive step towards improvement.

How Does Starbucks Plan to Fulfill This?

Starbucks has developed a recyclable plastic sippy top lid that fits on cups for iced drinks. If you’ve ever had one of their Draft Nitro or Cold Foam coffees you might of already had one. The only straws you’ll see at Starbucks will be allocated for their Frappuccinos but those have been specifically made from paper or PLA compostable plastic manufactured from fermented plant starch or other sustainable material. And that eco straw will only be available by request from customers.

How Soon Will This Go Into Effect?

Customers in Seattle and Vancouver can expect their straws to disappear as soon as this fall, with the rest of the world following. Seattle, as of July 1st, became the first U.S. city to completely prohibit plastic straws and utensils. Several others cities are following suite and also passing laws limiting plastic straw use.


Though nixing plastic straws won’t be the thing to save our environment from the harmful impact of plastic, it’s a small step that will hopefully create a chain reaction into a larger-scale change. Plastic pollution is on the rise and it’s not going anywhere. We have to work connectively as a group to our planet to cut down our waste. Some easy ways to make small changes is to bring your own useable coffee cup, invest in a couple metal or bamboo reusable straws, and bring your own reusable grocery bags with you. It’s these small changes that slowly add up over time. Unfortunately, it’s up to us to make a change because single-use plastic waste is only increasing. None of us are perfect and it’s so easy to forget bringing your own bags when grocery shopping but being more mindful about it is what slowly starts to change habits.