Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Starbucks Will Eliminate Plastic Straws Globally by 2020

Starbucks Will Eliminate Plastic Straws Globally by 2020

The new designs have drawn comparisons to an adult "sippy cup".

The food and beverage retailer said Monday that it would switch to a strawless lid or alternative-material straw in place of plastic straws. These now come with drinks like the Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam, and will come with the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew to be released on Tuesday.

In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts.

McDonald's also said last month that it would replace plastic straws with paper ones in the United Kingdom and Ireland from September. "Metal straws can be risky for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions".

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

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Starbucks said that it will begin using the strawless alternatives in Seattle and Vancouver stores by this fall, and expand to the USA and Canada, followed by other global locations, in fiscal year 2019.

Local governments have also been looking at the issue. As Fast Company reported, plastic straws have been banned or are planned to be banned by Alaska Airlines and McDonald's U.K., as well as in Vancouver, the U.K., Taiwan, Seattle, Miami Beach, and in California cities such as Oakland and Berkeley, to name a few.

Straws add about 1,800 tonnes of the more than eight million tonnes of plastic waste that is dumped into waters every year.

Starbucks says it will become the largest food and beverage retailer to commit to eliminating plastic straws, a change it says it will complete by 2020. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".

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