Coffee giant Starbucks said Monday it will eliminate plastic drinking straws over the next two years and replace them with a specially-designed lid for cold drinks.
The brewer is phasing out plastic, one-time-use straws, because of material waste and danger to aquatic sea life they can cause.
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. The transition will be complete in 2019, the company said. Ice-blended Frappuccinos, meanwhile, will be served with straws made of paper or compostable plastic.
Sixteen Tampa Bay businesses have received national Ocean Friendly certification through the coalition by voluntarily banning foam products and plastic bags, only providing straws and to-go utensils upon request, and enforcing recycling programs.
In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts.
Other municipalities mulling over the same kind of measure include Portland and New York City; California is considering a statewide ban.
Starbucks, which doles out more than 1 billion straws a year, says it will phase out single-use plastic straws from its stores by 2020.
Starbuckshadalready committed $10 million to help develop recyclable, compostable cups for hot drinks.
A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws. McDonald's said earlier this year that it would stop using plastic straws at all of its stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space".