Starbucks announces plan to eliminate plastic straws by 2020

Gwen Vasquez
July 10, 2018

Starbucks is ditching straws for a good cause.

The strawless lid is now available in more than 8,000 Canadian and US locations for some beverages.

"Entourage" actor Adrian Grenier has focused his straw ire at Starbucks, telling the café chain to "stop sucking".

The airline announced in May that single-use plastic stirrers and citrus picks would be replaced with sustainable organic versions made of white birch and bamboo, beginning this month.

But, let's say-for the sake of argument-that as many as 500 million plastic straws are used in the U.S. every day.

Starbucks announced on July 9 it plans to ditch plastic straws by 2020 in line with a global movement to curb the use of disposable plastics.

Founder of Sustainable Coastlines Camden Howitt says plastic straws are three-quarters of the plastic they find on New Zealand coastlines, with 60,000 stray straws picked up on our beaches over the last 10 years.

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

The company said in a release that paper or compostable straws will be available for customers upon request, and will be served with their Frappuccino blended drinks. On July 1, Seattle became the first USA city to ban plastic straws, spoons, forks and knives. In lieu of the classic drinking straw, Starbucks said it will design alternative-material straw options and "a strawless lid".

The issue of waste more broadly is coming up in company boardrooms.

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.

Craven also said she's starting to see more awareness about the need for exemptions for straws that bend, which people with disabilities and others may need.

The coffee chain is the latest big company to acknowledge the environmental threat plastic straws pose and promise to implement an alternative in the face of mounting public pressure.

Customers in Seattle and Vancouver can expect their straws to disappear as soon as this fall, with the rest of the world following closely behind. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

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