Starbucks’ lid dilemma

Ella Estopare, Online Editor & Columnist

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Everybody’s seen the videos about the harm that plastic has caused to the oceans. We’re shown tragic photos of plastic rings encircling necks of seagulls and the collection of trash that litters beaches around the world. Now more than ever, people are aware of the damage caused by pollution and waste to the environment, and large companies around the country are being urged to make a change.

Starbucks has made plans to eliminate plastic straws in all of their locations in the near future. The company decided to replace the environment-toxic straws with recyclable lids. However, these lids might not spark the change that Starbucks was hoping to create.

The new lids will be made of #5 plastic, polypropylene. In past years, the United States would often export to China to recycle this material, but the country has since refused to take any of the United States’ recyclable waste. Even if the United States was able to export our recyclables, according to the Guardian, only 9% of the world’s plastics are recycled. More often than not, recyclable materials end up in the trash rather than the correct recycling bin. “We are a disposable society,” Gillian Schneider, one of the sponsors of the Environmental Club at Neuqua says. “We don’t have time to recycle.”

So are these ‘new and improved’ plastic lids an improvement from regular plastic straws? The answer is no, simply because there is maybe one pro of these new lids over the dozens of cons. They’re made of more plastic than straws, they’re still single use, and they will also likely end up in the trash; so why make this alternative if it will make little to no difference in preventing pollution? If the world were a perfect place, all the plastics in the world would end up recycled and maybe Starbucks’ lid idea would be effective in saving our oceans.