Over the past year, Starbucks has trialed new lightweight, recyclable strawless lids in select markets across the U.S. and Canada. Due to the success of this test, the company is rolling out strawless lids to company-operated and licensed stores, marking a significant milestone in Starbucks effort to eliminate one billion plastic straws globally per year. Starbucks will continue to shift away from single-use packaging and plastics as part of its resource positive commitment announced in January.
“Recyclable, strawless lids for customers across the U.S. and Canada is another step in our journey to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer at Starbucks. “As we move closer toward our 2030 target of a 50 percent reduction in waste sent to landfills, the long-standing history of innovation within Starbucks, partnership across the industry and changing consumer behavior remain fundamental to our purpose and our prosperity as an organization.”
Starbucks designed, developed, and manufactured its strawless lid, which will now be the standard for all iced coffee, tea, espresso, and Starbucks Refreshers® beverages. The lid was modeled after the lid customers recognize from Starbucks hot drinks and has approximately nine percent less plastic than the flat lid and straw historically used for iced beverages. Unlike straws that cannot be recycled because of their size, the strawless lid made from polypropylene, meets the Association of Plastic Recyclers design guidelines for recyclability and can be recycled in many markets in the U.S. and Canada.
“We developed and trialed several prototypes to arrive at this milestone,” said Andy Corlett, director of global packaging solutions and innovations, whose team at Starbucks helped design the lid. “A recyclable, strawless lid becoming the standard for iced drinks is one small way we can give more than we take from the planet. This is a significant moment for Starbucks as we work to reduce waste and safeguard the environment.”
Corlett’s team developed variations in lid design to match the variety of beverages Starbucks offers. For example, the distinct lid for Nitro beverages, which began rolling out in 2018, has a slightly wider, tear-drop shaped opening, designed for the perfect drinking experience of Starbucks velvety-smooth Nitro Cold Brew and beverages with Cold Foam. Similarly, Frappuccino® blended beverages and other drinks with whipped cream will continue to have a domed lid made from recyclable plastic and be accompanied by a straw, except where prohibited by local law. Straws will also remain available in stores for customers upon request.