As the war on plastic continues, Starbucks is the latest big name to announce its newest initiative to reduce the company’s waste.
The coffee empire has said it will eliminate plastic straws from its stores worldwide by 2020.
The company will be redesigning cups and lids for cold drinks in an effort to do away with the 1 billion plastic straws they go through each year.
Starbucks have said they will invest in biodegradable ‘alternative-material straw options’ instead, according to BuzzFeed.
Starbucks also said straw-less lids will become the standard for all iced coffees, tea and espresso drinks, while frappuccino drinks will be served with the new, eco-friendly straws. Customers can request the other cups if they would prefer no straw at all.
Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and CEO, said:
The move is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways.
The company will initially be offering the new straws, lids and cups in Seattle, where the brand was founded, as well as Vancouver.
A spokesperson for the coffee chain said cold drinks now account for 50 per cent of all Starbucks beverage sales:
As customers show increased concern for the greater issue of waste, we know that what they’re drinking is as important as how they’re drinking it.
Earlier this year, McDonald’s also announced plans to do away with all plastic straws in its restaurants in the UK and Ireland.
The fast food chain uses 1.8million straws a day in the UK alone.
In a statement, chief executive of McDonald’s UK, Paul Pomroy, said:
The reduction and use of plastics is an hugely important issue – for our business, for the sector and for society.
He added McDonald’s only currently uses recyclable straws, but the company has been piloting paper straws since May, according to Reuters.
Since the trial in selected restaurants earlier this year, the nationwide move to paper straws will be carried out and completed next year, according to the BBC.
The firm said:
Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove called the move a ‘significant contribution’ to tackling plastic waste and pollution, adding it was ‘a fine example to other large businesses’.
While the move to paper straws is only happening in the UK and Ireland at the moment, trials are beginning in selected restaurants in the US, France and Norway. In other countries, straws are being given out only if they’re requested.
The new straws will use paper from certified sustainable sources, the company said.
McDonald’s isn’t the only company to introduce the change. All Wetherspoon pubs have now stopped using plastic straws, and Pizza Express have committed to replacing plastic straws with biodegradable ones by summer 2018. While supermarket chain Iceland became the first store to commit to doing away with all plastic packaging for their products.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.