Starbucks Is Removing Plastic Straws From All Stores

Ismael LynchJul 10, 2018

Stores in Seattle and Vancouver will be first to begin using these new items and other locations will start to adopt them as part of Starbucks' $10 million plan to introduce fully recyclable cups and lids.

"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.

Plastic straws will be phased out by 2020. It's a plastic strawless lid that will come to replace single-use plastic straws that now inundate its coffee shops.

But plastic straws make up a relatively small proportion of overall ocean debris: Data from California's coastal cleanup day, for example, shows that straws account for just 4% of waste.

M Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, issued a statement saying that 500m plastic straws are thrown away every day in the United States and lauded Starbucks for its "meaningful action to protect our oceans".

The move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from Starbucks stores, the company said.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.

The announcement comes just one week after Seattle, Washington - home to Starbucks' headquarters - became the first major U.S. city to ban single-use plastic straws and cutlery in bars and restaurants. "By nature, the straw isn't recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible", said Starbucks' director of packaging sourcing Chris Milne.

As a matter of fact, they actually are sippy cups for adults. And University of Portland students in April mounted a successful campaign to get plastic straws banned from campus. "As we partner with Starbucks in waste reduction initiatives such as Next Gen Consortium Cup Challenge and WWF's Cascading Materials Vision, we hope others will follow in their footsteps".

Still, those who support limiting plastic straws say they are generally unnecessary and a ban is symbolically important. 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.

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