Starbucks is making a massive effort to ditch plastic straws

  • Starbucks announced on Monday that it plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws globally by 2020. 
  • The chain is rolling out more strawless lids, which are already in use for certain drinks, as well as developing new plastic-free straws. 
  • The announcement comes at a time when cold beverages are making up an increasing percentage of Starbucks' sales. Cold drinks account for more than half of the company's beverage sales, according to Starbucks. 

Starbucks is making a massive effort to eliminate single-use plastic straws globally. 

On Monday, the coffee chain announced that it plans to no longer use single-use plastic straws around the world by 2020. The change will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws a year, according to the company. 

Worst things you can do at Starbucks
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Worst things you can do at Starbucks

1. Not saying what size

I get it, you’re at Starbucks because you need your daily fix of caffeine, and if you’re anything like me, you’re like a zombie before you get it. With that being said, though, more people than you would think don’t say what size drink they want — probably about a third of all customers don’t.

Even if you don’t know the Starbucks lingo, you can ask for a “large” and we’ll know what it means, but, please, don’t give us some really complicated order without saying what size so we can actually mark the cup as you say it. It just gets really repetitive having to ask customer after customer what size drink they want while trying to remember their orders.

2. Ordering while on your phone

Also with ordering, please have the courtesy to get off of your phone for two seconds to communicate your order. Not only is it incredibly rude to be on the phone or glued to your text when trying to order, but chances are we won’t be able to understand you and you won’t be paying attention to us if we ask you a question. So please, hang up with mom before getting in line.

3. Dumping coffee into the trash

When we ask you if you want room for cream in your coffee, it is so that there is space in the cup to put milk in if you wish. That’s not such a hard concept, is it? If not, then why do people ask for no room but then go over and dump half a cup of hot coffee into the trash to add milk? Please stop doing this. The trash bags are already disgusting when we get around to changing them, and dumping liquid in them just makes it worse.

4. "I wanted that iced."

We all make mistakes, but if I had a penny for every for every time I heard this one, I could afford all the Starbucks my heart desires. Unless you specify, all of our espresso beverages are made hot. I don’t care if it’s the middle of summer; you need to let us know if you want something iced. We’re happy to remake it for you but it messes up our flow and slows us down, and this could all be avoided by specifying when you order.

This also applies to, “I wanted that with soy,” or, “I didn’t want whip on that.” We are baristas, not psychics.

5. Saying "Frappé"

A “frappé” is a drink at McDonald’s. Starbucks does not have “frappés.” If you order a “frappé” instead of a Frappuccino, you will sound stupid and your barista will judge you, no questions asked.

6. "Is this mine?"

You just ordered a small hot drink one minute ago, so, no, this large iced drink is not yours. I don’t get this. You think that all of these people that have been waiting here longer than you are just standing around for fun? This venti Frappuccino with whipped cream is not your tall hot chai tea latte. We make drinks in order, so your order is not going to be ready right after you pay.

7. Being in a hurry

This one goes along with the last one. We make drinks in order, so we are not going to prioritize yours just because you are in a hurry. It’s extremely rude to ask the barista to make your drink first because you need to make it across campus in 5 minutes. It’s not our fault that you thought that would be enough time to order Starbucks and make it to your meeting.

8. Iced Caramel Macchiato

My last pet peeve is probably the one that bothers me the most. Macchiatos are not supposed to be iced. Macchiato in Italian means “marked,” meaning that your milk is marked with espresso, creating a strong coffee flavor at first that gradually fades into sweet milk. When you order it iced and drink it through a straw, this is already going to be backwards since you are starting at the bottom.

And to make things worse, a piece of me dies every time I watch someone stir their iced caramel macchiato after they get it, combining the layers. Or worse, order it “upside down”. That isn’t a caramel macchiato anymore. It’s an iced latte. If that’s what you want, order that, but why am I wasting my time making a macchiato if you’re just going to mess it up?

It’s clear that nobody actually knows what a caramel macchiato is and that they are just ordering it because it sounds cool, but please don’t. If you want to know what a drink is, ask your barista. We love to share our knowledge.


Starbucks has a two-pronged plan to eliminate straws. First, the chain plans to use new, recyclable strawless lids, which are already in use in certain stores with particular beverages, such as some drinks that come with a cold foam topping.

Second, Starbucks plans to roll out straws made from alternative materials instead of plastic. These straws will be available for drinks such as the Frappuccino, which are intended to be consumed via straw, and will be available on request. 

Starbucks will roll out the initiatives to eliminate straws in phases, a company spokesperson told Business Insider. The changes will start in Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, Canada, this fall, with the rest of the world following by 2020. 

The announcement comes at a time when cold beverages are making up an increasing percentage of Starbucks' sales. According to the coffee giant, cold drinks now make up more than half of beverage sales, compared to 37% five years ago. 

Starbucks is also adding two new cold drinks to the permanent menu on Tuesday: the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew — which features a strawless lid — and the Ice Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte. 

While cold beverages are increasingly crucial to Starbucks' business, the company has struggled with sales of the once-dominant Frappuccinos in recent years. In June, the company reported that sales of the sweet, icy beverage are down 3% from last year. 

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