There's been a lot of passionate buzz around the subject of plastic single-use straws lately. Activists and companies are taking their stance and pledging to "go strawless" for the sake of our environment. The people have spoken and Starbucks was listening.
Starbucks will eliminate their use of plastic straws by the year 2020, according to an announcement on July 9. The coffee super-chain owns more than 28,000 stores across the world, so this change could create an impact on not only the environment, but in influencing other major companies who have considered making a change but didn't think it was possible.
The company has developed a model for a recyclable new lid and implemented its use in more than 8,000 store locations between the United States and Canada for select beverages. In addition to the straw-less lid, Starbucks also plans to offer a plastic-alternative straw that will be made out of compostable plastic or paper. These changes are anticipated to reduce more than 1 billion single-use plastic straws per year.
This isn't the first example of Starbucks thinking consciously about the environment. According to Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, “For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways.”
The company has been focused on this aspect of their business for the past 30 years. The coffee chain has implemented many projects over the years in order to reduce their environmental footprint including focuses on acquiring ethically-sourced coffee, offering discounts to customers who bring in their reusable cups or tumblers, and working with sustainable consumer goods investors, Closed Loop Partners, to contribute $10 million dollars toward developing a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup.
While it's always important to support your local coffee chain, Starbucks gets a pat on the back for taking this large stride in order to better the environment and set an example for the rest of the world.