Starbucks Announces an End to Straws in All Locations


Coffee chain Starbucks announced Monday, June 9, that it would be phasing out straws at its stores worldwide by 2020. 

The decision falls in line with the city’s plastic straw ban, which went into effect on June 1.

The clear cold-cup lid, originally intended to debut with the Starbucks’ Draft Nitro and Cold Foam in Seattle, is now used for a number of drinks in about 8,000 stores. According to a statement on its website, the coffee giant plans for the lids to replace straws in all cold drinks except Frappuccinos, which will be offered with a paper straw or a a PLA compostable plastic made from sustainable material such as fermented plant starch. Customers may also receive one of these straws on request.

“We realized we had our lid after 10 weeks of experimenting,” Emily Alexander, a global research and development engineer at Starbucks, said in the online statement. Alexander’s lids will soon be seen in Malibu Starbucks stores.

“It was this very small thing and now it is so much bigger and more impactful,” Alexander later added.

A staff report from the Feb. 12 Malibu City Council meeting stated that “an estimated 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded every day—enough to wrap around the earth 2.5 times per day.” Starbucks claims its use of cold-cup lids worldwide will keep over one billion straws from polluting the environment every year.

Erin Simon, World Wildlife Fund U.S. director of sustainability research and development and material science, called Starbucks’ decision “forward-thinking in tackling the material waste challenge.”