Starbucks To Eliminate Plastic Straws In Its Stores By 2020

Pat Wise
July 10, 2018

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

Starbucks pledged to remove plastic straws from more than 28,000 stores by providing two types of straw alternatives: recyclable strawless lids and an alternative-material straw option for beverages like Frappuccinos.

Starbucks will start the transition away from plastic straws in Seattle and in Vancouver in the fall, before launching a phased rollout in the U.S.in its fiscal 2019.

Plastic straws represent a comparatively small amount of all plastic waste, Reuters says, but they are more hard to recycle than other plastic items.

Starbucks is among several major companies that have announced measures to cut plastic waste.

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Starbucks plans to phase out plastic straws by 2020, making it one of the largest retailers to commit to the no-straw movement. 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 cities, like Fort Meyers, have banned plastic straws.

It comes a week after Starbucks's USA hometown of Seattle banned single-use plastic straws and utensils at businesses that sell food or drinks in the city. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle. And straws contribute only 2,000 tons to the nearly nine million tons of plastic waste that wind up in the water annually, according to the Associated Press.

"This move is an answer to our own partners about what we can do to reduce the need for straws", said Colleen Chapman, vice president of Starbucks global social impact overseeing sustainability. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws. Customers who prefer a straw with their drink can ask for one.

In place of straws, iced drinks will be topped with a lid that features a teardrop-shaped opening about the size of a thumbprint, which provides a cleaner less ridged version of a hot cup lid.

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