In total, it is believed that the move will mean a staggering 1 billion plastic straws per year will be eliminated from the high-street coffee brand's stores.
Within the next two years Starbucks hopes to eliminate single-use plastic straws and instead plans to introduce the recyclable "strawless lids" and biodegradable substitute straws. The same day as Starbuck's announcement, Hyatt announced that single-use plastic straws will only be available on request starting September 1, and last month McDonalds announced it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by 2019. According to a release, Starbucks said the lid is now available in more than 8,000 stores in the USA and Canada for select beverages, including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam.
In order to become more sustainable than ever, Starbucks will implement the lids for iced drinks across all of its stores. They'll also have alternative material straw options. "Metal straws can be risky for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions".
Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and pose a danger to marine life. "Not using a straw is the best thing we can do for the environment". The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.
"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space".
But plastic straws make up a relatively small proportion of overall ocean debris: Data from California's coastal cleanup day, for example, shows that straws account for just 4% of waste. A global rollout of the strawless lids will follow, beginning in Europe where they will be used in select stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the UK. Hospitals were among the first to use plastic straws because they allowed patients to easily drink while in bed, according to a report by National Geographic.