Starbucks plans to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020.
The coffee-shop giant announced Monday that it will use recyclable strawless lids and an alternative-material straw option in its more than 28,000 stores around the world. The move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from Starbucks stores, the company said.
"For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways," Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks, said in a statement.
The chain joins a growing number of companies, making similar pledges, including Alaska Airlines, hotel chains Hilton and AccorHotels, cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Cunard and food-service giant Bon Appétit Management, whose 1,000-plus locations in 33 states include universities and museums.
Last month, McDonald's announced that it would start testing plastic-straw alternatives at certain U.S. locations later this year.
Americans use an estimated 500 million single-use straws daily, according to Eco-Cycle.
Starbucks' newly designed strawless lid will be used for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages. The environmentally friendly lid is now available in more than 8,000 of its stores in the U.S. and Canada for select beverages, including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam. Cold beverages now account for more than 50% of Starbucks beverage mix in the U.S., up from 37% five years ago, the company said.
The coffee retailer will also begin offering straws made from alternative materials -- including paper or compostable plastic -- for Frappuccino beverages. These new straws will also be made available upon request to customers who prefer or need a straw, the company said.
Starting this fall Starbucks customers in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to receive the strawless lids, with phased rollouts in the U.S. and Canada coming in fiscal year 2019. A global rollout will follow, starting in Europe where the strawless lids will arrive in select stores in France, the Netherlands and the U.K.
A plastic-straw ban in Seattle, Starbucks' hometown, took effect on July 1, making it the first major city to take action. Malibu, Calif., Miami Beach, Fla., and Monmouth Beach, N.J., also prohibit single-use sippers.
Other municipalities mulling over the same kind of measure include Portland and New York City; California is considering a statewide ban.
Fueling the movement is increased consumer environmentalism and concern about the many straws that end up polluting oceans and waterways.
Anti-straw activists often suggest using straws made of paper, metal or glass -- or simply drinking without one. Among the big names advocating for straw bans are actor Adrian Grenier, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and actor Kendrick Sampson.
Grenier, best known for his role in the TV show Entourage, urged Starbucks at its March shareholders meeting in Seattle to take action.
"Starbucks taught the world how to drink coffee and I firmly believe that Starbucks can teach the world how to make the environment its ultimate business partner," Grenier said. "The siren is calling. I hope all of you will listen to her."
An online petition calling on Starbucks to say goodbye to plastic straws has close to 150,000 signatures.
This isn't the first time Starbucks has considered the environmental impact its customers waste has. In March, for example, the company announced a $10 million challenge to design a disposable coffee cup that is compostable.
Starting Tuesday July 10, Starbucks will also add two new permanent additions to its cold coffee menu in the U.S. and Canada: Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew, featuring a strawless lid; and Iced Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte, which consists of vanilla bean and coconutmilk shaken with ice, with shots of Starbucks signature espresso poured on top.
Starbucks stock closed at $48.98, up 37 cents or 0.76%, on Friday.