Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in all stores by 2020

Mindy Sparks
July 11, 2018

Plastic straws have proven hard to recycle, not because of the material they are made from but because they are too slim for recycling production lines to effectively sort through.

The company made the announcement Monday morning that it will begin to eliminate "single-use plastic straws" from its more than 28,000 company operated and licensed stores.

The company will be making "a strawless lid or alternative-material straw options available", the statement said. San Fransisco and NY are eyeing similar proposals and even the United Kingdom announced plans to pass legislation to reduce plastic waste. The push to ban plastic straws gained traction after a viral video in 2015 showed rescuers removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle's nose in graphic detail.

The issue is coming up in company boardrooms, though Starbucks is taking the lead.

"There are very rigid straws - ones made of different materials - metal, but they can be very inappropriate, they can be hard for people who need to drink from them and you can injure yourself on them".

"Starbucks goal to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 from their stores globally represents the company's forward thinking in tackling the material waste challenge in totality", Erin Simon, director of sustainability research and development and material science at the World Wildlife Fund, said in the release.

"Straws are kind of an unnecessary item we've gotten accustomed to", Woodring said earlier this year.

While Starbucks does post some big numbers in terms of drinks sales and straw usage, switching from single-use straws to recyclable (depending on the market) polypropylene lids is a tiny drop in a vast ocean in terms of curbing marine plastic pollution.

Starbucks declined to comment on the financial impact of replacing plastic straws, which have become widely used in restaurants in part because they are so cheap. Its straws will be replaced by sippy cup-like lids that are also plastic, but more recyclable.

Seattle, where Starbucks is based, recently became the first city in the country to ban plastic utensils and straws. Next, phased rollouts will start within the USA and in Canada in 2019, followed by a global rollout starting in select stores in France, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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