Starbucks is done with plastic straws

Walt Disney World has banned plastic straws at some of its theme parks, while the Smithsonian Institution has taken steps to eliminate them from its museums. After countless petitions and consumers calling for action, Starbucks is going strawless!

Starbucks' newly designed strawless lid will be used for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages.

The store will automatically offer cold drinks with the new sipping lid, but for "frappuccinos", a coffee mixed with ice, the store will offer paper straws or ones made of a compostable plastic based on fermented plant starch. Frappuccino drinks will continue to be served with dome lids that require straws, but the straws themselves will no longer be plastic ones but alternatives made from paper or special compostable plastic.

Starbucks is ditching straws for a good cause.

Starbucks said Monday that it is making available a strawless lid at 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for certain drinks. It is "a cleaner, less-ridged version of a hot cup lid", the company said in a statement. That is harmful to the animals, of course, but also to humans who wind up ingesting traces of plastic themselves as it works its way up the food chain.

Seattle, where Starbucks is headquartered, implemented a ban on single-use plastic straws and utensils last week; Fort Myers Beach, Fla., has also ditched straws, while NY and San Francisco are considering similar proposals.

Straws have become a focal point in the anti-plastic movement in the last few years because they are impossible to recycle, due to their size and chemical composition. But I do hope the move does not make Starbucks (or its customers) complacent in the battle against all plastic pollution, particularly that which is caused by their single-use disposable coffee cups. According to the Associated Press, scientists estimate 2,000 tons of straws end up in the ocean every year, posing a significant danger to marine life.

Starbucks The strawless lids will be implemented in Seattle and Vancouver beginning this fall.

Vanessa Coleman