Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in stores globally by 2020

Daniel Fowler
July 9, 2018

Wes Knopp, the owner of Lone Light Coffee, said, "I think a majority of people would not get a plastic straw if they weren't provided with one automatically".

Starbucks said cold beverages in which a straw is typically included make up 50% of the drinks its sells, up from just 37% five years ago.

In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts.

The strawless lid, which features a raised lip, is already available in more than 8,000 stores in the USA and Canada for select beverages. The transition will be complete in 2019, the company said.

Environmental activists have been pressuring businesses to ditch plastic straws because they can end up in the ocean and hurt marine life.

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The announcement from McDonald's followed an April proposal by the United Kingdom government to ban plastic straws in the country.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the almost 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in waters around the globe each year.

Today, July 9, Starbucks has announced plans to eliminate all single-use plastic straws globally by 2020.

"By nature, the straw isn't recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible", said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks.

"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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