Requiem for a green straw – Plastics Today

Starbucks’ green straws are dead. A recent obituary in the Economist’s “The World in 2020” section by Ann Wroe, Obituary Editor, made the announcement that we’d long anticipated: 2020 will mark the death knell of those unmistakable Starbucks sipping tools.

Starbucks green straw
The green straw—conceived in 1999, murdered in 2020.

“Fun was why green straws had been conceived at all,” wrote Wroe in her obit. “They began their service not when Starbucks was founded, in 1971, but when it introduced the Caramel Frappuccino almost three decades later. Green straws marched in, along with whipped cream and caramel drizzle, as emblems of summer and self-indulgence. They meant happiness.”

Not so much happiness any more, as we prepare to mourn their loss.

The obituary left out one detail: Starbucks’ green straws did not die. According to investigators, they were murdered by unthinking, uncaring people who, despite all the reminders over the past decades not to litter, do so anyway. They then blame the plastic itself. Believe me, the green plastic straws did not commit suicide or die of natural causes—they were murdered!

In their place will be the previously announced “adult sippy-cup” lids for the creamy Frappuccino drinks.

Plastic straws in general became an object of scorn because they weren’t recycled, and what better example to hold up for all humanity to see as an example of the hated plastic utensil than the ubiquitous Starbucks green straw. Straws drew ire because people saw them on beaches, up the nostrils of turtles, in the stomachs of fish and whales.

Straws became the unwitting symbol for everything that was wrong with plastic generally. Getting rid of them makes people feel good. And so it is that green plastic straws were sacrificed on the altar of eco-feel-good. Their only crime was the same as that of all plastics: They last forever and, as Wroe comments, “That was the trouble.”

Image: Y.g/Adobe Stock