The last straw? Starbucks pledges to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020

Starbucks

The last straw? Starbucks pledges to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020

"With someone like Starbucks doing this, it gets their attention because they know it's something they will have to respond to".

It's a plastic strawless lid that will come to replace single-use plastic straws that now inundate its coffee shops.

Starbucks will make a strawless lid or straws made from alternative materials, like paper of compostable plastic, available at its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.

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. Its straws will be replaced by sippy cup-like lids that are also plastic, but more recyclable. Customers who prefer a straw with their drink can ask for one. The new lids are already being used in more than 8,000 stores in North America for beverages such as draft nitro.

It is no surprise that they are jumping on this opportunity, when earlier this year, Starbucks committed $10 million to help develop recyclable, compostable cups for hot drinks.

And therefore, in one of the company's first moves towards this goal, they have introduced a new cup for their cold brews. The transition will be complete in 2019, the company said. San Fransisco and NY are eyeing similar proposals and even the United Kingdom announced plans to pass legislation to reduce plastic waste.

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Thyme & Again Creative Catering got rid of plastic straws nearly ten years ago, after the owner felt concerned about plastic pollution on land and in the ocean.

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

The no-plastic movement has been gaining momentum in recent months amid pressure from environmentalist calling for restaurants and food chain stores to ditch the plastic straws.

Waste generation is a major global concern as several hundred million tons of plastic is generated every year and a major chunk of it is not recycled.

"Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species", said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, US, in a statement.

Seattle and Vancouver will be the first cities to see the permanent change this fall, with the rest of the USA and Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to follow.

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