Starbucks announces plans to go strawless by 2020

A "strawless lid" will take the place of plastic straws at Starbucks stores around the world

Starbucks has pledged to rid its more than 28,000 locations of plastic straws by 2020 in a bid to become more eco-friendly.

The coffee purveyor will replace single-use plastic straws with a “strawless lid” that it says will become the standard for iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages. The lid, which was designed by Starbucks, is already available in more than 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for select beverages.

In addition to the lid, Starbucks will offer straws made from alternative materials, like paper or compostable plastic, for its Frappuccinos. The new straws will only be available by request for customers who “prefer or need a straw.”

Starbucks said it anticipates the move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from its stores.

“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,” said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, in a statement.

Starbucks is rolling out the strawless lid initiative in Seattle and Vancouver this fall, with phased rollouts in the US and Canada to follow. The company will then introduce the lids to Europe, starting with select stores in France, the Netherlands and the UK.

In the UK, the change aligns with the retailer’s “latte levy,” which charges customers five pence for disposable cups in effort to encourage them to use reusable ones instead. The levy was introduced earlier this year at a handful of London stores and is expanding to 950 locations to further promote reusability.

Starbucks is far from the only company striving to cut its use of plastic. Recently, McDonald’s said it plans to switch to paper straws at its restaurants in the UK and Ireland. In Singapore, KFC recently announced its plans to no longer serve beverages with plastic caps and straws at its restaurants nationwide.

Earlier this year, American Express said it will begin creating a credit card made primarily from plastic found in the ocean and on the coasts in an effort to reduce its environmental impact. Still in its prototype phase, the company expects the card to be available to the public within the next year.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.