Starbucks Expands Availability of Strawless Lids

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TORONTO — Strawless lids are the new standard for iced beverages at Starbucks locations across Canada and the U.S.

Over the past year, Starbucks has tested 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,” says Michael Kobori, Chief Sustainability Officer at Starbucks. “As we move closer toward our 2030 target of a 50-per-cent reduction in waste sent to landfills, the long-standing history of innovation within Starbucks, partnership across the industry and changing consumer behaviour remain fundamental to our purpose and our prosperity as an organization.”

The strawless cold-beverage lid was first introduced in Seattle and Vancouver in 2018 and was launched in Toronto last year. This lid has approximately nine-per-cent less plastic than the flat lid and straw historically used for iced beverages.

Starbucks designed, developed and manufactured its strawless lid, modelling it after the brand’s hot-drink lid. Unlike straws, which can’t be recycled because of their size, the polypropylene strawless lid 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,” says 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. These include a distinct lid for Nitro beverages featuring a slightly wider, tear-drop shaped opening, which began rolling out in 2018. 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.

In 2019, Starbucks introduced FSC- (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper straws across the U.K. and Europe. Strawless lids and straws made from alternative materials will continue to be tested and rolled out to more markets in the coming year.

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