Starbucks, citing ocean threat, is ditching plastic straws

Ismael LynchJul 10, 2018

The coffee company announced Monday that it will phase out plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020.

"Starbucks has designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages", the company said.

Instead, its beverages will be capped with strawless lids - reminiscent of an "adult sippy cup" - or served with straws made from alternative materials "including paper or compostable plastic", according to a statement.

Wes Knopp, the owner of Lone Light Coffee, said, "I think a majority of people would not get a plastic straw if they weren't provided with one automatically".

The announcement from McDonald's followed an April proposal by the United Kingdom government to ban plastic straws in the country.

A number of restaurants and private establishments also have taken measures to curb their use of plastic straws.

The move will eliminate about one billion straws from its stores per year, the company said in a press release.

Last week, Seattle became the country's first major city to ban single use plastic straws.

Sixteen Tampa Bay businesses have received national Ocean Friendly certification through the coalition by voluntarily banning foam products and plastic bags, only providing straws and to-go utensils upon request, and enforcing recycling programs.

"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.

The UK government said that 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die each year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

The strawless lids will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver Starbucks this fall, with phased rollouts within the US and Canada to follow next year.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he said in a statement.

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