Starbucks announced on Thursday that all of its stores in the United States and Canada will offer strawless lids on its iced coffee, tea, espresso and Refreshers drinks, after successfully test-bedding them over the last year.
The lids, modeled after those used for hot drinks, use 9% less plastic than the previous 'lid and straw' according to the company, which has targeted a 50% reduction in waste sent to landfills from stores and manufacturing sites by 2030.
"A recyclable, strawless lid becoming the standard for iced drinks is one small way we can give more than we take from the planet," said Starbucks director of global packaging, Andy Corlett. "This is a significant moment for Starbucks as we work to reduce waste and safeguard the environment."
The company says that straws will still be available upon request, and will be given to those ordering Frappuccinos and other whipped-cream drinks.
"Strawless lids and straws made from alternative materials will continue to be tested and rolled out to more markets in the coming year," the company added.
As the Miami Herald notes, "Half a billion straws are used every day in the U.S., and 8.3 million plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches, according to National Geographic. There has been a push in recent years to eliminate plastic straws to prevent added waste."
"(Single use plastic) straws have been described as a ‘gateway plastic,’ which if curbed, can help change the behavior of consumers and retailers to reduce other SUP items," said Dr. Tony Walker, assistant professor of environmental science at Dalhousie University in Canada, in a statement to USA Today last summer.
According to the Center for Disability Rights, the move may make it more difficult for disabled people.
"For many individuals with mobility and strength issues, they cannot lift cups high enough to drink from them," said the organization, adding "Some individuals with poor motor coordination cannot safely hold a drink steady without spilling it. Certain medicines must also be taken via straw. Bendable plastic straws allow individuals to nourish themselves and avoid spilling things on themselves, and others."