EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Starbucks recently announced that it will eliminate plastic straws from more than 28,000 shops around the world by 2020.
It’s a plan designed to help the environment, and what it will use to replace the straw, is a new lid designed by a graduate of MSU.
Emily Alexander earned her Bachelor’s degree in Packaging from Michigan State University in 2011. But what she didn’t know then is that less than ten years later, she would design a new eco-friendly lid for Starbucks that would impact the world.
Alexander grew up in Okemos and now is an engineer in Global Research and Development at Starbucks. Her mom, Mary Jo Hardy, says working for the company is a perfect fit for her daughter.
“It’s one of those things you just don’t really expect your child to do, I mean we just, we always joke around and say ‘Don’t they know she’s just a kid?,’” said Hardy.
Hardy says seeing her daughter’s success is a parent’s dream.
“Makes us super proud and excited to hear that she’s doing well,” said Hardy.
Because of company rules, we couldn’t speak to Alexander herself, but her mom says the MSU School of Packaging played a big role in her daughter’s success.
The director of the school, Susan Selke, says many environmental issues stem from not having the technology to recycle certain plastics like straws.
“Too often these materials are getting into places where they shouldn’t be; they’re becoming litter,” said Selke.
So she’s proud that a former Spartan student is using what she learned to help reduce waste around the world.
“It was really exciting to find out that one of our grads made that really groundbreaking design change,” said Selke.
Starbucks isn’t the only company making the change from plastic straws, others include Marriott International, both Hilton and Hyatt Hotels, and American Airlines.