Starbucks Bans Plastic Straws For Lid Design, But What Exactly Is This Made Of?

Global coffee brand Starbucks is the latest major brand to say goodbye to single-use plastic straws for good.

McDonald’s and KFC have already begun phasing out plastic straws entirely in some of their outlets, which is significantly positive news for the environment. Starbucks announced in a press release that it will “eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020.”

A strawless lid will take its place, turning Starbuck’s cup packaging into one that resembles a sippy cup.

“Starbucks has designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages. The lid is currently available in more than 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for select beverages including Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam,” it explained.

While positive, the news stirs the next major question: what exactly are these lids made out of? Since word about its straw ban surfaced, many have wondered if phasing out one plastic for another makes sense.

In an email to Mic, a Starbucks spokesperson clarified:

The lid is “made from polypropylene,” which is a widely accepted recyclable plastic. Unlike straws that are too minor and lightweight for capture in modern recycling equipment, polypropylene is attainable during the recycling process.

While not the perfect solution, Jeffery Morris—economist and owner of Sound Resource Management Group—agreed with Starbucks’ move and added that the helpful change is a step in the right direction.

Starbucks further clarified that it “will begin offering straws made from alternative materials—including paper or compostable plastic—for Frappuccino blended beverages, and available by request for customers who prefer or need a straw.”

The brand anticipates that the eco-friendly move will eliminate over one billion plastic straws each year from its stores.

In March, Starbucks announced its US$10 million plan to develop completely recyclable and compostable cup packaging to market—a move that’s easier said than done, considering the recycling process is not as straightforward as many think.

This year marks a major and welcomed change in brands’ and mankind’s attitude to the worldwide plastic problem, with IKEA also committing to phase out plastic products by 2020. Hopefully more brands will continue to jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon.

[via Mic, images via Starbucks]

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