The amount of iced coffee we chug on any given summer’s day is probably not medically advisable, but can you really blame a girl when iced coffee is refreshing and gives you the caffeine boost you need to actually gather all of your beach gear up so you can hit the waves? Yeah, we thought not. But our iced coffee game might be facing a big change this year because Whole Foods is officially no longer going to be handing out plastic straws with your cups of cold brew. Time for a plan B!
While certain states and cities have mandated plastic straw bans, Whole Foods is making their plastic straw ban a company-wide policy, regardless of a store’s location. Their coffee, juice, and smoothie bars traditionally have given customers a plastic straw with their cold drinks, but starting in July of 2019, they’ll be giving out paper straws with frozen drinks or upon request. The paper straws are certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council, and they’re recyclable and compostable as well.
Whole Foods will also still have plastic bendy straws at all locations available on request for customers with disabilities. This type of policy has come under fire by disability advocates because there is a worry that those with “invisible” disabilities could face scorn from both service industry workers and other customers when they request plastic. That being said, we’re very glad that the plastic bendy straws will still be available for those who need them, and hopefully, businesses like Whole Foods will listen and work with disability advocates to further improve the accessibility of their cafes and juice bars.
All told, Whole Foods estimates that between eliminating plastic straws and replacing the containers they use for their rotisserie chicken with new bags, the company will be reducing their plastic waste by 800,000 pounds a year, which is no small feat.
Whole Foods Market will be the first restaurant chain in the nation to make its own plastic straw ban. Starbucks has also pledged to ban plastic straws globally by 2020, and will instead be using a newly developed strawless lid (recyclable!) and straws made from more eco-friendly materials.
For those of us who just don’t like drinking without a straw (try chugging iced coffee in the car without one — you’re definitely getting drenched), there are plenty of reusable straw options on the market these days. Maybe it’s time to finally pick up one of those highly coveted rainbow Starbucks tumblers that come with a reusable straw.
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