Environmental News

Starbucks brings Texas kicking and screaming into eco-friendly straw stance

Starbucks brings Texas kicking and screaming into eco-straw stance

Starbucks strawless lids
Forcing eco-friendliness right down our throats. Photo courtesy of Starbucks

The state of New Jersey Assembly recently passed the strongest ban in the U.S. on single-use plastics, prohibiting single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam containers, and making straws by request only.

Texas is a ways off from that kind of gesture — I mean, having straws is surely a God-given right and not having them could be a direct threat to your personal freedom and all — but two big companies are taking a proactive stance by either testing eco-friendly straws or getting rid of them altogether.

Dunkin' Biodegradable Straws
The doughnut-and-coffee chain has hit several sustainability milestones, including replacing foam cups with paper cups in 100 percent of their stores globally and setting new goals such as transitioning from plastic to wooden stir sticks by mid-2021.

Their latest enviro-friendly intitiative: Approximately 250 restaurants across the U.S. have begun testing a new biodegradable straw.

You can tell the new straw by the color: It's light blue The straws are made with PHA, a material created by the fermentation of canola oil. The PHA material is both marine and soil biodegradable, as well as home and industrial compostable.

Starbucks Strawless Lids
As part of the company's efforts to phase out plastic straws worldwide, they've now made a recyclable, strawless lid their standard for iced beverages.

Starbucks trialed these new lightweight, recyclable strawless lids in select markets across the U.S. and Canada for the past year. The test was a success and now they're being rolled out as part of their effort to eliminate one billion plastic straws globally per year.

Starbucks modeled the lid after the one they use for hot drinks. It contains ~nine percent less plastic than the flat lid and straw previously used for iced beverages. Hmm, nine percent does not seem all that revolutionary, but every percent counts.

Another plus: The lid can be recycled, unlike straws that cannot because of their size.

The strawless lid comes in a few versions. For example, the lid for Nitro beverages has a wider, tear-drop shaped opening, so that customers may better enjoy the velvety-smooth texture of Nitro Cold Brew and beverages with Cold Foam.

Straws at Starbucks aren't going away entirely. They'll still be used for Frappuccinos and other blended drinks with whipped cream, and will remain available for customers upon request. Don't be that customer.

Starbucks Korea was the first market to eliminate straws through strawless lids and paper straw alternatives in 2018. In 2019, Starbucks introduced paper straws across the UK and Europe. They'll continue to roll out strawless lids and straws made from alternative materials to more markets in the coming year.