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Starbucks is saying good bye to straws, but is that enough to save the world?

Forest fires and multiple hurricanes are a sure sign that the earth is not happy with how we have been treating it. Climate change has been a growing problem, and honestly it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Starbucks is taking a step in the right direction, but is it enough to win the race? 


Fireman Illustration in front of Fire
Pixabay from Pexels

In 2018 Starbucks announced it wanted to start phasing out plastic straws from all locations by 2020, according to CNN. The new sippy-cup lid will be taking the place of all lid and straw combos, except in drinks such as the Frappuccino. There are certain states that have banned plastic straws all together, so they are only allowed to have straws made of more eco-friendly materials for the dome-lid drinks. 


Starbucks Frapp Closeup
Keriss101 / Spoon

“Recyclable, strawless lids for customers across the US and Canada is another step in our journey to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Michael Kobori, Starbucks’ chief sustainability officer. “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.” -CNN. 


Starbucks
Hunter Honeg / Spoon

Straw-free lids are expected to be in full force by the end of this month in the United States and Canada. According to CNN, the lids contain about nine percent less plastic than the old plastic lid with straw. They are also made of a more recyclable plastic, polypropylene. 

Plastic straws are a huge contributor to ocean pollution. This lid innovation is supported by the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program and the World Wildlife Fund. 

The attention on straws specifically was sparked after a video of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose surfaced.  According to a BBC article, 6.3 tons of plastic out of 8.3 tons of total plastic produced ever ends up in landfills or the natural environment. 

Aside from the aftermath of straws, the production of plastic is also a huge contributor to climate change.

 “According to 2018 analysis by Material Economics – a sustainability management consulting firm – using only zero-carbon energy sources, such as wind and solar, in the manufacturing phase would decrease overall emissions by 50%.” – Yale Climate Connections. 

In order to cut emissions that come from plastic production, there needs to be change in the production as well as the disposing of plastics. Ideally, the best way would be to get rid of single use plastics all together and replace it with a much more eco-friendly material. 


Markus Spiske
Markus Spiske / Unsplash

 

Starbucks is respectable for taking a big step in the right direction, but there needs to be change on a much bigger scale. In order for this to happen, we need leaders in office that will take scientists seriously. We need leaders that will pay attention to climate change, and ask for help from the experts. 

Annamarie Schutt

Illinois State '21

Annamarie is a senior journalism major. Aside from being the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus ISU, Annamarie also currently reports for TV-10 News and WZND.
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