Starbucks has gone from a single store in Seattle in 1971 to having 28, 212 locations worldwide and serving millions of people each day. Take that number and then think about the amount of straws that are being used!

The company has announced that they plan to eliminate all straws from their stores by 2020, and instead are bringing in recyclable lids – a decision that will eliminate 1 billion straws worldwide according to their statement.

The recyclable lids will become a standard first across all iced drinks, with the company stating:

From their debut in one initial store, the cold-cup lids now are used for a small number of drinks including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam in more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. They will become the standard lid for all iced drinks except Frappuccino, which will be served with a straw made from paper or PLA compostable plastic manufactured from fermented plant starch or other sustainable material. Customers who prefer or need a straw can request one made of alternative materials for use with any cold drink. Last year in Santa Cruz, Calif., Starbucks started testing out straws made from materials other than traditional plastic. It is now in the middle of testing paper straws in its U.K. stores.

Starbucks new lids

Nicholas Mallos, the director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, has responded by saying “Starbucks’ decision to phase out single-use plastic straws is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic, with eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines.”

The straw-replacing lid will also be made of plastic, but its polypropylene content can be widely recycled.

This move comes as other large companies are looking at their global environmental impact, with Woolworths phasing out plastic straws and banning plastic bags.

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