Starbucks is done with plastic straws

Starbucks

Seattle is believed to be the first major US city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service, according to the Seattle Public Utilities. Well, that would be by way of a new so-called "strawless lid", which will become standard for all iced coffee, tea, and espresso beverages, according to a news release. The move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year.

Replacing the item is an innovative new lid design by Starbucks' Global Research & Development engineer Emily Alexander. The new lids are already being used in more than 8,000 stores in North America for beverages such as draft nitro.

As momentum continues to build against the use of plastic straws, Starbucks said it is rolling out a lid with a teardrop shaped opening with a raised lip as an alternative. "As we partner with Starbucks in waste reduction initiatives. we hope others will follow in their footsteps".

The move could inspire a significant domino effect among other major retailers and local governments, encouraging them to follow suit. Customers who prefer or require a straw can request one made from the new sustainable material.

Starbucks is the latest corporate chain promising to ditch plastic straws because of the environmental threat to oceans.

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Earlier this year, Starbucks committed $10 million over three years to help find an alternative to its ubiquitous hot beverage cups - its third such attempt in a decade - which are complicated to recycle due to their plastic liner.

The lid that is replacing the straws is also plastic, but is also recyclable. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.

Other cities, including Fort Myers Beach, Fla., have banned plastic straws, and similar proposals are being considered in NY and San Francisco. The burger chain said this year that it would use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025.

The custom lids will also be introduced in the United Kingdom, just as the market expands its £0.05 (US$0.07) paper cup charge to 950 stores.

Cravens Coffee owner Simon Thompson said the roastery's wholesale customers are approaching him about eco-friendly options for straws, including ones made by Indiana-based Aardvark Straws, which focuses on paper options.

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