Starbucks announced Monday that it plans to completely replace its plastic straws across the globe with "alternative-material straws" and their strawless lids, AKA the sippy cup lids.
Starbucks said that by making this change at its 28,000-plus worldwide locations, they will completely do away with over 1 billion plastic straws per year.
“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.
Starbucks introduced the sippy cup concept with its Nitro Cold Brew drinks back in 2017, and were available for any cold drinks upon request. Now, Starbucks plans to make these lids the new norm for all of its iced coffees, teas, and espresso-based drinks.
Starbucks is already familiarizing itself with compostable straws in Seattle, as plastic straws were just banned in the city, leading all food establishments to find straw alternatives.
Vancouver stores will also make the change as soon as this fall.
Plastic straws will gradually be phased out in the U.S. and Canada throughout 2019, Europe will shortly follow suit, before a completely global rollout.
It's also good to note that McDonald's U.K. replaced all of its plastic straws this year, and replaced them with paper straws.
Starbucks basically looked at McDonald's efforts and took it to a global scale.
If you're wondering why the big change is occurring, Starbucks' Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, explained that it "represents the company’s forward thinking in tackling the material waste challenge in totality," and that, "plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species."
If there were ever a a sign that plastic straws will soon disappear in the food industry, this would be it.