After that unforgettable image of the sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose went viral, environmentalists and sustainability-oriented brands alike hopped about the anti-straw movement, which aimed to reduce the use of plastic straws in our daily lives. Chains across the globe have since stopped doling out straws with their beverages, and Starbucks is the latest one to do the same.
Now, Starbucks iced beverages are served in strawless lids, which somewhat emulate a child's sippy cup. They're incredibly functional and easy to use, and honestly, we're so happy they joined the anti-straw crew.
Starbucks' new lids are recyclable, and they're helping the chain meet their sustainability goal.
Since 2019, the Seattle-based chain has been testing new strawless lids for iced beverage orders in certain markets across the U.S. and Canada, and now, according to a press release, they're finally rolling them out permanently. The lids are lightweight and they're comprised of polypropylene, which is a recyclable material in most places. In addition to eliminating the need for straws, the lids are also made with nine percent less plastic than the original iced beverage lids.
Apparently, eliminating straws at Starbucks alone could eliminate the use of one billion plastic straws yearly, and it's only the chain's first step toward meeting their current sustainability goal.
“Recyclable, strawless lids for customers across the U.S. and Canada is another step in our journey to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer at Starbucks.
“As we move closer toward our 2030 target of a 50 percent reduction in waste sent to landfills, the long-standing history of innovation within Starbucks, partnership across the industry and changing consumer behavior remain fundamental to our purpose and our prosperity as an organization.”
Each of Starbucks' lids are designed specifically for different drinks.
Starbucks' new strawless lids were apparently modeled after the lids used for hot beverages, making them conducive for sipping iced drinks on-the-go. According to the press release, they were specially designed by Andy Corlett and his team of global packaging designers, who were also responsible for the design of Nitro drink lids. Those are made specially for enjoying creamy Nitro cold brew beverages and anything with cold foam.
“We developed and trialed several prototypes to arrive at this milestone,” he said. "A recyclable, strawless lid becoming the standard for iced drinks is one small way we can give more than we take from the planet. This is a significant moment for Starbucks as we work to reduce waste and safeguard the environment.”
Likewise, Starbucks serves their Frappuccino blended beverages (or anything with whipped cream) with a domed lid, which is made from recyclable plastic. They can be accompanied with a straw, but if you end up ordering one, we suggest bringing your own reusable straw, if you can. We've rounded up a few of our favorite ones, here, and if you keep them in your bag at all times, you'll never need a single-use straw again.
We're hoping other companies follow suit, and single-use straws ultimately become obsolete. Sippy cups are the future.