Hit or Miss: Starbucks Says Sayonara to Straws

On July 9th, Starbucks announced that it will completely remove all straws from every store by 2020. By just one company vowing against the plastic usage, they believe nearly one billion straws will be removed from the planet each year moving forward. Starbucks realized that they are a mega player in the plastic production on the planet, and are starting to take the necessary actions against pollutive behavior. This week, we’re here to analyze whether or not this decision will truly hold as much impact as they believe.

a closeup of an iced Starbucks beverage with one of their new cardboard straws

What is the plan?

By 2020 Starbucks will no longer carry or offer plastic straws to customers. While the company will carry a limited supply of paper or biodegradable straws for those who require straws to consume beverages, every other cup will be offered with a lid resembling a “sippy cup”. Essentially, the lid will be strawless and used for all beverages from hot or cold, to smoothies or espresso drinks.

Argument Against: Inconveniences people with disabilities

One of the reasons people feel upset with Starbucks plastic straw ban is that they feel that the company did not consider individuals with disabilities. People with disabilities might not have the mobility or muscle control needed to drink out of cups without straws, preventing them from purchasing drink products from Starbucks. Even if paper biodegradable straws are offered, they might not provide the proper strength or length for people and will eventually dissolve as they enjoy their cold or hot coffee drinks. People feel disgruntled that Starbucks didn’t address or seemingly consider those with disabilities, and hold this as a major argument against the ban of plastic straws.

Argument For: Kickstarting a movement

Many people who feel excited for this Starbucks movement don’t believe the straws themselves will greatly impact the environment (although, no one can deny that removing plastic from the environment is a good thing.) However, many people believe that the decision to remove plastic straws from the company will kickstart a movement for more companies to make large scale decisions with the environment in mind. By starting with small decisions, like straws, people hope snowball effect of mass recycling, utilizing business grade renewable energy, and another major eco-friendly changes will follow. Essentially, many individuals argue that the straw ban isn’t necessarily against straws, but for other changes.

two iced Starbucks drinks with their new lids that don't need straws

What does Starbucks say?

Starbucks believes that this is the most obvious and impactful decision they could currently make for the sake of the environment. According to Starbucks, sales in cold drinks have skyrocketed over the course of the past five years. While they aren’t entirely sure where sales will be five years from now with cold drinks, leaders in the company are confident this “sippy-cup revolution” will help combat their pollutive impacts. Starbucks says the straw ban isn’t their first attempt at a healthier planet. They actively encourage customers to BYOT (“bring your own tumbler”) and have invested over ten million dollars in developing a biodegradable hot cup. Essentially, Starbucks didn’t start with the straw ban, and they sure aren’t finished yet.

What are your opinions on Starbucks removing plastic straws from their company inventory? Here at J-Tech, we love that companies are making changes with the environment in mind and are excited to see how these changes can evolve to help satisfy and consider the needs of all. If you’re ready to start your own personal environmental revolution, call us today to get started with your own residential solar power system!