Starbucks, citing environment, is ditching plastic straws

Starbucks, citing environment, is ditching plastic straws

By 2020, consumers will no longer be able to get single-use plastic straws at all Starbucks stores globally.

The lids will become standard for all iced drinks except Frappuccino, which will still have a domed lid but be served with a paper straw or one made of compostable material. It's a plastic strawless lid that will come to replace single-use plastic straws that now inundate its coffee shops.

For users who still want their drinks with a straw, the company said paper or biodegradable plastic will be available by request. Seattle is believed to be the first major US city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service, according to the Seattle Public Utilities.

Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and CEO, called the move a "significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways".

At Starbucks, executives said the efforts are part of a $10 million plan to develop cups and lids that are fully recyclable and compostable. Other cities such as New York City and San Francisco as well as fast-food chains like McDonald's are also considering a ban on plastic straws.

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A global rollout of the strawless lid will begin in Europe, starting with select stores in France and the Netherlands.

Seattle and Vancouver, Canada locations will be the first of Starbucks 28,000 stores worldwide to see the new strawless lids. The Seattle-based carrier, which said it handed out 22 million stir straws and citrus picks past year, also said it would have non-plastic, marine-friendly drinking straws for travelers that request them.

"With 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space", Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancys Trash Free Seas program, said in the release. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

"Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species", said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, US, in a statement.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space".

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