Starbucks Will Ban Plastic Straws by 2020

Jul 9, 2018

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More and more brands around the globe are ditching single-use plastic straws because of their harmful effects on the environment. Starbucks joined the conversation when it announced Monday its stores will completely stop offering the straws by 2020.

The move follows a July 1 decision in Seattle — Starbucks’ original location — to ban all disposable plastic straws, utensils and cocktail picks. Starbucks said it will phase out straws from more than 28,000 locations and anticipates this move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year. The company will make the switch to biodegradable materials like paper and specially designed lids as part of a $10 billion commitment to develop a fully recyclable and compostable global cup solution. Starbucks has already designed a straw-free lid, which is available in more than 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for select beverages like the Starbucks Draft Nitro Cold Brew.

“For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways,” Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, said in a statement.

Plastic straws are extremely light and cannot be recycled, which means they often end up in  oceans, disrupting marine life and breaking apart into microplastics.  They are among the top ocean pollutants scientists estimate that there are nearly 7.5 million plastic straws taking over America’s beaches.

Cities in the US and around the world are starting to recognize the harmful impacts straws and other disposable plastic products have on the environment and are creating bans. Along with Seattle, places such as Miami Beach, Malibu, California, and Fort Myers, Florida, have all banned or limited the use of plastic straws in restaurants. Following these cities, in April, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on the nations of the British commonwealth to consider banning plastic straws, coffee stirrers and plastic swabs with cotton on the end, and the EU banned single-use plastic items in May.

Airline companies have also started cutting down on plastic straw usage — most recently Alaska Airlines will replace its plastic products with materials like white birch and bamboo starting July 16.


Featured image by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images.

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