In order to reduce the usage of plastic straws, last year, Starbucks launched their sippy cups. The coffee chain also announced that they plan on removing plastic straws from their stores by the year of 2020.
They aren’t just making straws from alternative materials, but cups with an innovative lid which doesn’t require a straw too. These recyclable lids are used in specific stores with some drinks like those with cold foam topping.
Is the Sippy Cup Being Accepted?
Environmentally awakened people on social media have been encouraging people to ask for this cup, rather than straws.
Emily Alexander is an engineer in global research and development at Starbucks and the developer of the sippy cup used in pair with their nitro cold brew. The bubbles and cold foam of the drink were made to be sipped not sucked through a straw, she explains.
In the next year, the chain will make this cup a standard for most of their cold drinks. They will also release their initiatives to remove straws in phases.
The implementation of the project started in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada.
What Kind of Cup Is This?
This new lid allows sipping the drink through a lid made with polypropylene- a material which is still plastic, but widely recyclable.
For Chris Milne, Director of Packaging Sourcing for Starbucks, by nature, plastic straws aren’t recyclable whereas this lid is so this decision is socially responsible and sustainable.
By the year of 2020, all 28,000 stores of the company will remove plastic straws.
The company is creating a mold and inspiring other brands to follow their example. However, just because something is recyclable, it doesn’t mean that it will be recycled. Some people may not be aware and fail to place the cup in a recycling bin.
Plastic Straws Are Bad for the Environment
Did you know that plastic straws require around 200 years to dissolve? Consequently, they elevate the amount of microplastics in oceans and landfills.
Marine life ends up ingesting this microplastics and straws, which further ends up in the seafood and endangers marine ecosystems.
Even though the removal of plastic straws on a global level won’t solve most of the plastic problem, environmentalists are hopeful that it will encourage others to remove single use plastic from their lives.
Unfortunately, estimates show that 175 million straws are used and thrown away on a daily basis. Plastic straws aren’t the largest source of plastic waste, but their removal is a major step towards the overall plastic reduction.
Other Companies Have Already Started Following Suit
Starbucks is the biggest company that plans on banning plastic straws for good, but other companies and cities have also adopted the initiative.
Namely, McDonald’s have announced that they will begin removing plastic straws in the UK and Ireland. Moreover, Hyatt hotels will only provide plastic straws upon request.
Sadly, by the year of 2050, estimates indicate that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. But, until now, it’s not entirely clear what the health effects of microplastics ingestion are.
And, studying this is almost impossible as it’s very difficult to find a control group which has consumed fish without contaminants.