Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in stores globally by 2020

James Marshall
July 9, 2018

Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws from its stores globally by 2020, in a nod to the growing push for businesses to be more environmentally friendly.

This announcement makes Starbucks the largest food and beverage retailer to commit to such a global commitment, and the plan will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws a year. Its beverages will feature recyclable lids featuring a raised lip, like those pictured here.

"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.

Starbucks will begin rolling out the new lids for all drinks this fall, starting with stores in Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle.

Instead, Starbucks cups will have a strawless lid or an alternative-material straw option available.

Earlier this month Seattle became the first major United States city to ban plastic straws and plastic cutlery in its eateries.

The decision came after the company worked to design a new lid for the Draft Nitro cold foam beverage in 2016 that was originally served only in Seattle, according to a release from Starbucks. McDonald's said in June it would start switching to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland in September. In May, the European Union also suggested a ban on some plastic items, including straws. Starbucks said it has committed more than $10 million to this initiative so far.

Straws are a small contributor to the overall plastic problem, but they are an easy target since most people don't require a straw to consume a beverage.

Viral videos - including one depicting researchers extracting a plastic straw from a sea turtle's bleeding nostril - is prompting some companies and municipalities to find ocean-friendlier alternatives.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program in a statement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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