For sustainable society


The beginning of a new era without straws.

The movement to use alternative materials to plastics to eliminate marine plastic waste is accelerating around the world. Especially for plastic straws, the usage rate in the food and beverage industry is declining rapidly. However, it is also true that many users complain that alternative paper straws will soon become sticky. Like this straw, it may not be easy to switch from plastic yet.

Meanwhile, Starbucks unveiled a straw-free plastic lid in this September. Some stores in the United States and Canada introduced it first in the world. The plastic lid will be expanded to other areas as well.

According to the company, new lids are being used for drinks such as iced coffee, tea and espresso in the United States and Canada. The shape of the new lid is designed based on the popular model for hot drinks.

  • Approximately 9% reduction in plastic usage compared to the flat lid and straw combination previously used for cold drinks.
  • Unlike straws, which could not be recycled due to the shape, the new lid can be recycled in many parts of the United States and Canada.
  • Introducing a new lid will reduce about 1 billion straws annually.

In 2018, Starbucks began supporting the Next Generation Cup Challenge, an international project aimed at commercializing fully recyclable and compostable cups. The project, along with McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, invited starters from around the world to work on the design and materials of new cups. There were about 500 applications from 50 countries around the world, and 12 teams were selected in 2019. Currently, six award-winning teams are continuing cutting-edge research with stronger support.

The ideas of the team chosen were diverse, including compostable paper cups, containers made from plant material rather than paper, and reusable cup rental system services. This means that what kind of cups to use and what kind of services to provide after the abolition of plastic containers is still under development, and there is no clear answer at this time. The quest is still going on for the realization of a sustainable society.

Photo: Starbucks

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