The move to ditch its signature green plastic sipping instrument will reportedly eliminate more than one billion plastic straws that are used per year. It's obviously not going to solve the issue of giant garbage islands floating in the middle of the oceans, but it should certainly make a dent.
“Starbucks’ decision to phase out single-use plastic straws is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic,” said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program in a press release. “With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines.”
The new strawless lids that will be topping most cold drinks are essentially a more sophisticated version of a traditional sippy cup lid. It features a teardrop-shaped opening spout that's roughly the size of a thumbprint, and sits at an elevated angle to prevent spillage. And while they're also plastic, the lids' polypropylene content is such that they're more easily recycled.