Starbucks Announces Plans to Eliminate Plastic Straws

Starbucks unveils environment-friendly lid for cold drinks which puts straws on shelf

Starbucks announced a new lid design on Monday that makes straws obsolete

Last week, Seattle became the latest city to ban plastic utensils and straws.

"Starbucks' decision to phase out single-use plastic straws is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic".

Starbucks customers use more than one billion straws per year. To eliminate straws, the company will serve cold beverages-excluding frappuccinos-with a new lid featuring a raised lip.

McDonald's also recently said it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year, and test alternatives to plastic straws in some USA locations.

The strawless lids at Starbucks will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver this fall, with phased rollouts within the USA and Canada next year.

"This move is an answer to our own partners about what we can do to reduce the need for straws", said Starbucks' Vice President of Global Social Impact, Colleen Chapman. While she commends Starbucks for taking the initiative to cut waste globally, she says 95 Utah businesses jumped on the bandwagon in the spring as part of the SLC Strawless campaign.

"Most people don't know this but plastic straws are not recyclable", said Bellefontaine.

Starbucks said it plans to be completely free of its plastic straws by 2020 and will replace them with paper straws. Plastic straws have become one of the biggest targets.

The anti-plastic straw movement has been gaining momentum: with manufacturers such as Diageo, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard already pledging to ban their use in their operations.

About 275 million metric tons of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons entering the ocean, according to a 2015 Science magazine report. Next, phased rollouts will start within the USA and in Canada in 2019, followed by a global rollout starting in select stores in France, the Netherlands, and the UK. Starbucks has already committed itself to the trendy cause, having pledged $10 million to help create recyclable cups for its hot drinks, but it is now moving further along in its efforts to aid the environment by choosing to ditch plastic straws.

The custom lids will also be introduced in the United Kingdom, just as the market expands its £0.05 (US$0.07) paper cup charge to 950 stores.

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