Starbucks Will Eliminate Plastic Straws Globally by 2020

Starbucks Will Eliminate Plastic Straws Globally by 2020

On July 1, Seattle became the first US city to ban plastic straws, spoons, forks and knives.

A patron holds an iced beverage with a straw, at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena, California, US, July 25, 2013.

Starbucks parting with plastic straws will save over one billion plastic straws every year.

"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 and development and material science at the World Wildlife Fund, said in the release.

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

McDonald's also said last month that it would replace plastic straws with paper ones in the United Kingdom and Ireland from September. In time, the cold-cup lids were rolled out into more than 8,000 stores across Canada and the US and used for a handful of drinks, including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam drinks.

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Starbucks said it will make available strawless lids or straws made of other materials instead. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also introduced a plan in April to ban the sale of plastic straws. The new lids will begin rolling out this fall in Canada as well as in Starbucks' home city of Seattle.

Starbucks said the move will affect its more than 28,000 company-operated and licensed stores worldwide.

Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and pose a danger to marine life. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle. The company says it's part of a $10-million commitment to develop fully recyclable and compostable cups. The potential harm of ocean waste, particularly from plastic straws, drew widespread attention after a 2015 YouTube video of a sea turtle with a straw up its nostril went viral.

But while such policies are meant to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean, as Pacific Standard reported, they've been questioned for their effectiveness and criticized for being ableist.

As for the "strawless lids", Starbucks is already using them in about 8,000 select stores around North America.

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