Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in all stores by 2020

Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in all stores by 2020

The global coffee giant said that it plans to eliminate all single-use plastic straws by 2020, and will instead cap cold drinks with lids that do not require the use of a straw.

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

Starbucks customers use more than one billion straws per year.

The new lid is already being used for some beverages, such as cold brew with cold foam or nitro, but will be implemented universally beginning this fall in Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, as reported by CNN. Stores outside of the USA will then see the new lids, starting with Europe.

The move could inspire a significant domino effect among other major retailers and local governments, encouraging them to follow suit.

In May, Alaska Airlines said travelers on its flights would be served drinks with compostable versions of stir straws and citrus picks: white birch for coffee and bamboo for citrus sticks. McDonald's is road testing the use of biodegradable straws for its drinks.

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Starbucks is the latest corporate chain promising to ditch plastic straws because of the environmental threat to oceans.

"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.

"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. Seattle stores began offering compostable straws, splash sticks and cutlery July 1, according to a release.

Alternatives to plastic straws have also been on the rise-think straws made of paper, bamboo, glass and metal. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

Other cities, like Fort Myers Beach in Florida, have banned plastic straws.

Straws made of alternative materials will still be available to customers on request. The company has long encouraged customers to bring in reusable cups and their coffee is 99 percent ethically-sourced.

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