"Starbucks has designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages", the company said.
The coffee giant says it uses 1 billion plastic straws a year as its cold beverage sales grow, but will replace them with "strawless" lids and alternative materials. Starbucks's hometown of Seattle, for example, banned plastic straws and utensils beginning this month, while the California cities of Davis and San Luis Obispo prohibit restaurants from handing out plastic straws unless a customer requests one.
Starbucks will begin rolling out the new lids for all drinks this fall, starting with stores in Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle. Cold beverages now account for more than 50% of Starbucks beverage mix in the US, up from 37% five years ago, the company said. Straws, though, will still be available - made from paper or compostable plastic. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, it's a lot: 30 million metric tons.
While plastic drinking straws have become one of the more high-profile issues environmentally, they make up only about 4 percent of the plastic trash by number of pieces, and far less by weight. Among the big names advocating for straw bans are actor Adrian Grenier, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and actor Kendrick Sampson.
Starbucks said more markets will follow until the chain meets its goal. "The siren is calling".
As for the "strawless lids", Starbucks is already using them in about 8,000 select stores around North America.
Starbucks stock closed at $48.98, up 37 cents or 0.76%, on Friday.
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