This Just In: Your Starbucks Order Will No Longer Come With A Plastic Straw

mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
This Just In: Your Starbucks Order Will No Longer Come With A Plastic Straw

Photo by Starbucks

It's the last straw for Starbucks. The beverage mecca has committed to nixing single-use plastic straws from its 28,000-plus stores around the world by 2020. According to a company news release, Starbucks is the largest food and drink retailer to make such a sweeping commitment, and it expects to eliminate more than one billion plastic straws a year.

To make its green dreams a reality, the brand will offer paper or compostable straws for blended drinks like Frappuccinos, and everything else will be served with a strawless lid (think adult sippy cup). While this lid will still be made of plastic, it will be fully recyclable (straws aren't!).

Interestingly enough, five years ago, cold drinks accounted for 37 percent of Starbucks beverage sales, and as of last year, they accounted for 50 percent, Fast Company reports. Customers in Seattle and Vancouver can expect their straws to disappear as soon as this fall, with the rest of the world following closely behind.

"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," Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, said in the news release.

Starbucks is a founding member of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, a network of 80 partner organizations that have committed to source their coffee in a way that respects people and the planet. After 15 years of work on its supply chain, Starbucks claims that 99 percent of its coffee is now sustainable and ethically sourced, meaning it doesn't contribute to deforestation or put the livelihoods of farmers at risk.

And this isn't the first time Starbucks has worked to cut down on its plastics: Over in the United Kingdom, select stores have started taxing plastic cups to encourage more customers to bring their own. (P.S. Every time you bring your own cup, you'll get 10 cents off your drink, no matter where in the world you are.)

With this new pledge, it joins the list of other major strawless commitments from cities like Malibu, Seattle, and the entire U.K. (even Queen Elizabeth is on board). While nixing plastic straws probably won't be the thing to save our environment from the detrimental impact of plastic, it's a small step that will hopefully ladder up into more sweeping change.

Psst...your straw might be harming your health too!

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