Starbucks. We know it. We love it. We can't live without it. But soon there will be something missing: the iconic green straw. Almost six months ago, the Starbucks company announced that they will be making steps toward sustainability, starting with straws. As stated on their website, Starbucks has vowed to phase out single-use plastic straws from their 28,000+ locations worldwide. The company expects that this move will reduce waste by over one billion straws per year—That's a lot of green plastic!

Sarah George

Starbucks isn't alone in the movement. The "Skip the Straw" motto is part of an anti-plastic revolution that encourages us as consumers to be more mindful of what we throw away. Having something disposable is easy and convenient, but sometimes we forget to consider what happens when we toss it in the trash. Most straws and other plastics end up in the ocean, endangering marine wildlife and the overall health of the ecosystem. We have created a plastic problem, and its up to us (the coffee drinkers, the smoothie sippers, and frappucino lovers) to take the first step towards solving it. 

When I first learned about the "Skip the Straw" movement, I thought of how much I love that pretty green straw. But looking back at all those years of cold brews, smoothies and Refreshers, I realized that I alone have thrown away a ton of plastic. So I decided it was time to get little more eco-friendly in my own life. Naturally, I started with Starbucks. I made my reusable tumbler my new best friend and I vowed that I will only go to Starbucks if I have it with me. Bringing my own cup keeps a lot of straws from ending up in the trash. Plus, the habit saves me money (Starbucks gives a ten cent discount for personal cups!). What's not to love?

Sarah George

Going beyond the realm of Starbucks, "Skip the Straw" is making big change in the way we look at plastic in our food industry. Everything from packaging to plastic bags often goes to waste, so it's time for us to get real about using less. Even the smallest changes, like buying a reusable straw, can make a huge impact. So when your barista offers you a straw for your next coffee, hold up your reusable one and proudly say "No thanks, I'm #skippingthestraw!"

Want to do more?

If you're like me and you want to reduce plastic waste, you're in luck—there are so many things you can do! Even if you and your tumbler aren't that close (or you're not a Starbucks freak like me), it's still super easy to use less plastic. Here are some ideas to get you started:

After you buy your reusable straw (#skipthestraw!), invest in reusable cutlery so that you can #skipthefork when you eat out at places with plastic forks. Student unions and restaurants are great places to start!

If you mostly eat at home, put your leftovers or snacks in a reusable container instead of a plastic zip-top bag. A couple extra dishes never hurt anyone!

And for anyone who shops anywhere, start buying and carrying reusable bags so that you can stop taking plastic ones. These culprits are everywhere from Target to takeout, but they make for a simple swap. 

For more tips and tricks on buying more eco-friendly items, read this fellow Spoon members article: