Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Starbucks, citing ocean threat, is ditching plastic straws from all locations

Starbucks, citing ocean threat, is ditching plastic straws from all locations

Plastic straws have become a flashpoint.

Stores in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to begin using the new strawless lids, which will be used for iced coffee, tea and espresso drinks beginning in the fall.

The global coffee giant said that it plans to eliminate all single-use plastic straws by 2020, and will instead cap cold drinks with lids that do not require the use of a straw. And it's a part of Starbucks' $10 million investment in creating recyclable and compostable cups around the world.

Straws made with alternative materials like paper and compostable plastic will be provided with Frappuccinos, as well as upon request by customers.

Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and CEO, called the move a "significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways". Several other US cities have already implemented similar bans, or have proposed legislation in the works.

The announcement from McDonald's followed an April proposal by the United Kingdom government to ban plastic straws in the country. Plastic straws have become one of the biggest targets.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws.

The company's announcement comes a week after it's hometown, Seattle, banned single-use plastic straws and utensils at businesses that sell food or drinks in the city. Straws add up to only about 2,000 tons of the almost 9m tons of plastic waste that hits waters each year.

Starbucks says it will replace plastic straws in stores globally with ones made from other materials by 2020, a nod to the growing push for businesses to be more environmentally friendly.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he said in a statement.

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