Recently, I stopped at a Starbucks while traveling and requested no lid with my drink because I was drinking it there, and also because I graduated from a sippy cup when I was 5. The barista told me I had to take a lid, and when I refused, she took the un-used, brand new lid and threw it in the trash, saying "We get in trouble if I don't give you a lid." They're required to give customers lids for hot and cold drinks, even if the customer doesn't want it. What a waste!
When I returned to LA, I started doing some research. Starbucks does have plans to put recycling in all of their locations, and they recently released a new reusable cup (that I carry when in LA) to encourage their customers to cut down on waste. But in the meantime, Starbucks trash bins are literally overflowing. Starbucks sells approximately 4 billion cups of coffee a year -- that's BILLIONS of plastic lids winding up in landfills EVERY YEAR. I think that's about 11 million lids a DAY! 500,000 an HOUR!
If Starbucks allowed customers to opt out of taking a lid, even if only a small percentage of people did it, hundreds of thousands of pounds of plastic could be kept out of landfills. Just like stores from Walmart to Whole Foods have been cutting back on their use of plastic bags, Starbucks can set an example for the coffee industry to reduce its plastic waste by making lids optional.
Why must I use a sippy cup? Starbucks claims it's a "liability issue", in other words money they could lose if someone spills and sues. Starbucks made 13.3 BILLION in profits in 2012, and all they'd have to do is put a sign in the window "If you refuse a lid and spill hot stuff on you, it is hot."
They already allow their customers in Canada to decide for themselves if they want a lid, so why can't customers choose in the US? Stop pushing plastic on those of us who know those lids go into a landfill in someone else's back yard. Tell Starbucks to give us a choice when it comes to lids, and let us take responsibility for our guilty pleasures and our environment.