Daily Insights

The Last Straw

By: Mackenzie Baker | Sep 16, 2020

In an effort to ramp up its sustainability efforts, Starbucks phases out straws at its locations across the U.S. and Canada. 

Strawless lids have been available at select Starbucks locations over the past year, but after a successful test run, will now be served at all company-operated and licensed locations. The lids are designed to fit the majority of Starbucks drinks including tea, coffee, and iced beverages, allowing the coffee company to take a large step forward in its pledge to eliminate single-use packaging and plastics. Compared to the typical plastic straw, strawless lids contain 9% less plastic and meet the recycling guidelines set by the Association of Plastic Recyclers. Starbucks announced the new lids on Instagram, where it receives the highest consumer interactions and could reach a wider audience than on other social media platforms, according to a Gartner report. The post followed the coffee shop’s promotion of its fan-favorite fall beverages, which could tempt even more consumers looking to try the seasonal drinks with strawless lids. 

Starbucks launched a “Resource Positive Commitment” this past January where it doubled down on its goals to reduce waste and recycle more at all of its stores. By 2030, the coffee company plans to reduce waste sent to landfills by 50%, an attainable goal now that it could eliminate up to one billion plastic straws per year. Straws have not been recyclable in the past due to their size, so ousting them completely could help Starbucks reduce its environmental footprint. Given consumers’ growing focus on sustainability and eco-friendly brands, strawless lids could boost Starbucks’ image with socially-conscious consumers and help set a new standard within the restaurant industry. In addition to making stawless lids the new normal in the U.S. and Canada, Starbucks also eliminated straws in Korea and parts of China, while distributing certified paper straws in the U.K. and Europe. 

Plastic straws will soon be a thing of the past at Starbucks as it looks to build on the recycling buzz that has grown exponentially over the past few years. With its widespread strawless lids launch, Starbucks could now demonstrate its commitment to the environment while connecting with eco-conscious consumers around the world.