Almost a year after they first announced plans to reduce their ecological footprint by eliminating plastic straws, Shake Shack has unveiled their next steps. On Earth Day, the company shared a first look at new straws they're rolling out to all restaurants in the United States, which will allow guests to enjoy the chain's signature milkshakes in an eco-friendly way. They're compostable as well as plant-based, but Shake Shack hasn't confirmed whether or not they'll be composting the products themselves.
While eliminating plastic straws is a good start, many have pointed out that plastic waste is much more than just straw usage—which Shake Shack acknowledged, too. "We know we've got more work to do, but we're excited to take this small step in helping to protect the environment," the chain said in a Tweet. It also shared an image of the compostable straws in question, which are colored in the signature Shake Shack green.
Shake Shack first announced their plans to phase out plastic straws in the summer of 2018, when Food & Wine reported that CEO Randy Garutti said the decision had to do with Shake Shack's "mission to stand for something good." Garutti initially promised the brand would remove plastic straws from all restaurants by the end of the first quarter of 2019. The announcement of Shake Shack's new straws came on the same day as new regulation from the City of Los Angeles bans companies with more than 26 employees from serving plastic straws.
According to this Eater report, ditching plastic straws has become a major trend for restaurants within the last year. The switch to alternative straws—like Shake Shake's compostable option—or even the rise of consumers' preference for reusable metal straws has influenced other cities and entire states to take a stand against plastic waste. The trend has even forced entire nations to contemplate their single-use plastic waste, as the European Union recently banned plastic straws, cups, cutlery, and plates.