Why Strawless Lids are Actually Worse

In July of 2018, the city of Seattle imposed America’s very first ban on plastic straws. This started a movement that spread quickly throughout the nation and for the first time ever, it became mainstream to hate plastic straws. A-list celebrities joined in on the campaign, as well as the media, working hard to educate the public on the long term effects that straws could have on our environment. Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee house chain, was next to join the movement, advertising a new strawless option to consumers. The company even went as far as to make a promise to become completely strawless by the year 2020. When asked about the ambitious goal, CEO Kevin Johnson said, “This is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways.” But are these new lids really more sustainable?

These new “sustainable” lids use between 3.55 and 4.11 grams of plastic depending on their size, while the old straw and lid combo only uses between 3.23 and 3.55 grams. Consumers who vouch for the strawless option have been completely misled, thinking that they are eliminating waste from the environment, while really they are doing the opposite. In addition to adding physical plastic waste to our planet, the new lids will require the burning of more fossil fuels through the process of their production. In turn, resulting in even higher amounts of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, a compound that is believed to be the cause of climate change.  When CO2 combines with water, carbonic acid is formed, raising the acidity levels in our oceans, something that is arguably more detrimental to ecosystems than the waste from straws. So, if you are looking to actually help out our oceans, skip the strawless lid and bring your own reusable mug instead! And if you’re feeling really passionate, advocate that our government spends less time talking about straws and a little more time discussing the alarming levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.   

PoliticsCarly Robbins