The last straw? Starbucks pledges to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020

Starbucks citing environment is ditching plastic straws

Starbucks citing environment is ditching plastic straws

Last week, Seattle's ban on single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service outlets took effect, and Starbucks says it already offers alternative straws there.

Starbucks Starbucks announced on Monday that it will eliminate plastic straws from its products by 2020. The new designs have drawn comparisons to an adult "sippy cup".

However, customers who prefer or need a straw can still request one, but they will be made of alternative materials. These now come with drinks like the Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam, and will come with the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew to be released on Tuesday.

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.

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

Other companies have also been ditching plastic straws in recent months. It is now also in the middle of testing paper straws in its United Kingdom stores. The transition will be complete in 2019, the company said. Plastic straws have become a flashpoint.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws. Straws add up to only about 2,000 tons of the almost 9m tons of plastic waste that hits waters each year.

"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. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".

Starbucks has announced it is eliminating plastic straws from its stores worldwide over the next two years, an environmental measure that it said will remove more than a billion plastic straws annually from its stores.

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