Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws from all stores

Monday, 09 Jul, 2018

Starbucks, citing the environment threat to oceans, will ban plastic straws from all of its stores globally in less than two years.

Starbucks Coffee Co. estimates the switch will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws a year.

Starbuckshadalready committed $10 million to help develop recyclable, compostable cups for hot drinks. Ice-blended Frappuccinos, meanwhile, will be served with straws made of paper or compostable plastic.

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

In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts. McDonald's said earlier this year that it would stop using plastic straws at all of its stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

McDonald's shareholders voted down a proposal requesting a report on plastic straws in May. Plastic straws have become one of the biggest targets.

As BBC News reported in February, a Scotland-based disability group called One in Five says paper, plant-based, and metal straws aren't adequate substitutes for single-use plastic straws and could even be risky for people, depending on their disability.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws. Seattle's ban on plastic straws and utensils went into effect last week.

The strawless lids will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Starbucks this fall, with phased rollouts within the US and Canada to follow next year. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".

"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.