Starbucks’ New No-Straw Policy Isn’t as Great as It Sounds

published Jul 16, 2018
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(Image credit: Boyloso)

Starbucks is trying to make going strawless as trendy as the PSL. And that’s a good thing, especially for the environment. (If you haven’t seen the video about the harm that plastic straws can cause to sea turtles yet, watch it, and I swear you will vow to never use one again. Also, look that up at your own risk.)

But something’s fishy about the ubiquitous coffee chain’s proposed alternative: bulkier, plastic sippy lids.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Plastic Straw Ban at Starbucks

America’s movement to ban plastic straws got its start on a government level in Seattle, the very same city where the first Starbucks opened way back in 1971. Coincidence? We think not! The efforts are trickling down to municipalities and restaurants all across the country.

And so, to keep up with swaying public opinion on plastic straws, the company recently announced their goal to “eliminate single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores by making a strawless lid or alternative-material straw options available around the world” by 2020. A pilot version of these newfangled lids is already available for customers who order a Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam, but soon the lids will be the default option for all iced coffee, tea, and espresso beverages.

Bad News: The “Strawless Lids” Actually Increase the Chain’s Plastic Use

That is all well and good, but according to further investigation by Reason, these “strawless lids” are kind of too good to be true because they increase the chain’s plastic use. By their calculations, this switch actually adds between .32 and .88 grams of plastic per drink, compared to the weight of their current plastic lid and straw combo.

Starbucks responded to this by pointing out that their new, thicker lids are recyclable, whereas the plastic straws currently in use are not. Now, as always, the onus to recycle is left up to customers, who will hopefully deposit the remnants of their venti, iced, sugar-free, vanilla latte with skim into right receptacle — and save the sea turtles too.

What do you think about Starbucks’ strawless solution?