Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Starbucks To Stop Offering Straws At All Locations By 2020

Starbucks To Stop Offering Straws At All Locations By 2020

At Starbucks' annual general meeting in March, 29% of shareholders supported a resolution asking the company to ban straws and improve its recycling standards.

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.

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 is the latest company to announce a ban on plastic straws, but 95 Utah businesses already took the pledge months ago.

Vancouver will be the first Canadian city to have the new lids, starting in the fall of this year.

In order to render plastic straws needless, Starbucks will be transitioning from the regular flat plastic lids to a new kind of lid with a raised lip to drink from, the company shared in a news release.

Straws have been a focal point for plastic waste activists, and for good reason: 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the USA alone.

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"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.

Targeting plastic-straws over other single-use plastic "shows a real tendency towards a populist, easy fix solution" and is a "flippant thing to do" she says.

McDonald's United Kingdom recently announced plans to start phasing out plastic straws and replacing them with paper straws, while Alaska Airlines also announced plans to ban plastic straws and stir sticks aboard their aircrafts. This will begin during fiscal year 2019, according to the Seattle-based company.

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

"Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species".

A number of local governments have pushed to limit the use of plastic straws by passing restrictive legislation. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".

Starbucks said that it is the largest food and beverage retailer to have promised to get rid of plastic straws.

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