Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Starbucks phasing out plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks phasing out plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks Coffee Co. estimates the switch will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws a year.

In order to eliminate straws, Starbucks will begin transitioning its flat plastic lids to recyclable plastic lids that feature a raised lip that you can drink from.

The company will broaden the manufacture and use of what some in social media have dubbed the "adult sippy cup".

The company also says that "alternative-material straws - including paper or compostable plastic - will be rolled-out for Frappuccino blended beverages, and available by request for customers who need a straw, pending successful pilots that are underway".

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

"This is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways", Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive of Starbucks, said in a statement.

"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.

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

The European Commission has proposed new rules that would ban the 10 biggest plastic pollutants found on Europe's beaches and in European waters, including plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, stir sticks and balloon sticks.

In the United States, local governments are already putting similar restrictions into place.

Engineers successfully developed a "cleaner, less-ridged version of a hot cup lid", and decided to make it the standard for all iced drinks except the Frappuccino, totally phasing out straws by the year 2020. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

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

"By nature, the straw isn't recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible", said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks.

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