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Starbucks ditches plastic straws
Coffeehouse chain Starbucks now only offers cold beverages in cups with strawless lids in all its outlets from the US and Canada, thus getting rid of plastic straws in an attempt to reduce plastic waste.
Back in 2018, Starbucks first announced that it would gradually start phasing out plastic straws from all its outlets by 2020. This meant designing a strawless lid, which was trialled in the US and Canada in 2019. The lightweight strawless lid has approximately 9% less plastic than the usual plastic flat lid and straw used for cold beverages.
The new strawless lid is made of polypropylene, which is a highly recyclable material. The straws, therefore, meet the Association of Plastic Recyclers design guidelines and can be widely recycled in many markets such as the US and Canada. This lid will be used for almost all iced beverages sold in Starbucks stores, such as iced coffee, tea, espresso, and the beverages in the Starbucks Refreshers range.
However, blended drinks such as Frappuccinos and drinks containing whipped cream will still come in a normal lid with a plastic straw included, unless plastic straws are prohibited in the market. In such locations, straws from alternative materials will be sold with the drink. Moreover, Starbucks will continue to keep straws in stores for customers with disabilities, but the plastic lid will no longer be available.
Starbucks first eliminated plastic straws in South Korea in 2018, where it introduced strawless lids and paper straws. Paper straws were also introduced in the UK and across Europe in 2019. The company will continue to test more plastic straw alternatives and is planning to roll out strawless lids and other plastic straw substitutes in more markets in the coming years.
Sustainability has remained an important topic, even during the pandemic. According to a GlobalData survey, 36% of consumers (and 27% of US consumers) would like news about the brand’s sustainability initiatives during the pandemic period.
The percentage increases to 39% among global millennials (and 40% of US millennials), which is a key target audience for Starbucks. Furthermore, according to the same survey, over half of global respondents consider recyclable/reusable packaging to be more important or even a top priority now as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, environmentalism is still present in people’s minds despite the turbulent and uncertain times due to Covid-19.
For more insight and data, visit the GlobalData Packaging Intelligence Centre