Read the full article by Stephanie Stohler (Toxic Free Futures)
“SEATTLE, WA—On March 15, 2022, international coffee giant Starbucks announced its first-ever commitment to eliminate toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in its food packaging materials. As part of the company’s new sustainable packaging policy, the transition away from these dangerous chemicals in its food packaging materials will be complete in the U.S. by the end of 2022. Starbucks has more than 15,000 U.S. stores and 34,000 stores worldwide and is the second biggest quick-service restaurant chain in the U.S.
The company stated: ‘By the end of this year, we will have eliminated PFAS from all packaging in the U.S. and will eliminate PFAS globally in 2023.’
Though the company’s announcement comes after similar commitments by other major restaurant chains, their timeline is faster than many—including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell that have made commitments to phase out PFAS in food packaging by 2025. Wendy’s made a commitment last year to phase out by the end of 2021.
Starbucks’ announcement follows Toxic-Free Future’s multi-year Mind the Store campaign to phase out PFAS from retail food packaging. Toxic-Free Future (TFF) published reports in 2018, 2019, and 2020 indicating the presence of PFAS in food packaging materials at major quick-service and grocery store chains. Last week, Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons, announced a global ban on PFAS. In response to TFF’s campaign, 22 retailers selling food or food packaging have announced steps to reduce or eliminate PFAS in food packaging at more than 140,000 stores worldwide.
The commitment also follows a peer-reviewed study led by scientists at TFF, the University of Washington, and Indiana University that found PFAS in 100% of breast milk samples from 50 mothers in and around Seattle, WA. TFF’s recent investigative report further revealed that the nation’s only manufacturer of PFAS for food packaging is a major source of both PFAS pollution and ozone-depleting chemicals, contaminating drinking water and contributing to climate change.