Image courtesy of Starbucks
On Monday, July 9, Starbucks announced that it would eliminate single-use plastic straws from its stores by 2020. The new strawless option will be a special ‘sippy cup’ lid that will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea, and espresso beverages. 

The lid can currently be found at more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada for its new cold-foam topped beverages. For customers who do need a straw for items such as Frappuccino blended beverages, Starbucks will offer straws made from alternative materials including paper and compostable plastic.

The global commitment from Starbucks is anticipated to eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from its stores. The company has also committed $10 million to develop a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup as part of its partnership with Closed Loop Partners, through the NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge.

“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,” says Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks.

The moves have been praised by conservation and environmental groups such as World Wildlife Fund and Ocean Conservancy.

“Starbucks decision to phase out single-use plastic straws is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic. With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space,” says Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program.