Starbucks is going strawless.
Landfill-clogging plastic straws will be replaced by environment-friendly cup lids in the Goliath coffee company’s 28,000 stores by 2020.
The design created by engineer Emily Alexander and her team at Starbucks will eliminate more than 1 billion straws a year, according to the company.
“We realized we had our lid after 10 weeks of experimenting,” said Alexander.
The innovative cold-cup lids debuted in one store in Seattle and are now used for some drinks, including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam, in 8,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada. The company said the lids will become standard for all iced drinks except Frappucinos, which will be served with a straw “made from paper or PLA compostable plastic manufactured from fermented plant starch or other sustainable material.”
Anyone who views the move as the last straw need not worry. Customers will be able to request one made of alternative materials for use with any cold drink, the company said.
“I am really excited to have developed something that can be part of this big transformation of going strawless. It was this very small thing and now it is so much bigger and more impactful,” said Alexanderbefore beginning a new role in the Global Sourcing department.
Alexander’s design features a teardrop-shaped opening the size of a thumbprint — a cleaner version of a hot cup lid.
“By nature, the straw isn’t recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible,” said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks.
Starbucks is also encouraging customers to “bring your own tumbler” — or BYOT — as part of its waste-reducing efforts.