Starbucks Says It Will Phase Out Plastic Straws

Cesar Mills
July 10, 2018

"Starbucks' goal to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 from their stores globally represents the company's forward thinking in tackling the material waste challenge in totality", Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, U.S., said in a statement.

Starbucks (sbux) will replace plastic straws with recyclable strawless lids, which it will serve with all of its iced coffee, tea, and espresso drinks.

Straws often become rubbish because their small size makes them hard to recycle.

Of course, Starbucks isn't alone in its quest to clean up its reputation by cleaning up the environment.

Replacing plastic straws with plastic lids is a step in the right direction: Straws are often hard to recycle and are prevalent in litter on land and in waterways, Jeffery Morris, economist and owner of Sound Resource Management Group, said in a phone interview.

Starbucks is the biggest company to make the environmentally friendly move and it's expected that more companies will follow its lead and offer their own eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws.

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By not automatically offering straws with drinks, Starbucks estimates it will save a billion straws a year. Customers who prefer a straw with their drink can ask for one.

Other cities, like Fort Myers Beach in Florida, have banned plastic straws, and similar proposals are being considered in NY and San Francisco.

The issue of waste more broadly is coming up in company boardrooms.

Ditching plastic straws is a positive move for the company, but it is clear they still have a ways to go on removing plastic cups and lids from their repertoire.

As for the "strawless lids", Starbucks is already using them in about 8,000 select stores around North America. Vancouver will become the first Canadian city to do so in the fall of 2019. The push gained traction after a viral video in 2015 showed rescuers removing a straw from a sea turtle's nose in graphic detail. Several European countries and cities in the United States are mulling restrictions on the use of plastic straws, although outright bans are still rare. Many of those straws end up in landfills, where they can sit for centuries without decomposing, or in the ocean, where they're often ingested by animals. Non-profit environmental group For A Strawless Ocean advocated for the use of Aardvark biodegradable straws, which are said to decompose in 45-90 days.

Other reports by GizPress

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