INTERNATIONAL | Staff Reporter, UK

Starbucks' new recyclable lids to phase out plastic straws by 2020

The global coffee brand is currently trialling them in more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Following a string of environmental initiatives by other global brands, Starbucks has announced that it will phase out plastic straws by the year 2020.

Instead of a straw, customers will drink their cold beverages through recyclable lids. The lids were designed by Emily Alexander, an engineer in the company's Global Research & Development branch.

This will become the standard for all iced drinks except their Frappuccino, which will be served with a straw made from paper or PLA compostable plastic manufactured from fermented plant starch or other sustainable material. 

Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., customers will be the first to see the new lids replace single-use plastic straws.

The lid that is replacing the straws is also made of plastic, but Starbucks says its polypropylene content can be widely recycled. 

“By nature, the straw isn’t recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible,” said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks. “Starbucks is finally drawing a line in the sand and creating a mold for other large brands to follow. We are raising the water line for what’s acceptable and inspiring our peers to follow suit.”

Starbucks has previously encouraged customers to bring their own tumblers as part of its efforts to reduce waste.

In the UK, the coffee giant is experimenting with a 5p paper cup charge in London, which will be extended to 950 stores in the country later this month.

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

(Photo courrtesy: Starbucks)

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