Other cities, like Fort Myers Beach in Florida, have banned plastic straws. "We'll never recycle our way out of the plastics crisis we're facing, so while eliminating petroleum plastic straws is a positive development, the company should not simply replace them with another throwaway item or material".
The coffee chain already uses its strawless lids in 8,000 North American stores for drinks like its draft nitro and cold foam beverages. Following the economic boom after the Second World War, plastic straws began being produced faster and more easily, making their way into mainstream businesses around the world in the decades that followed.
Straws made of alternative materials will still be available to customers on request.
"Starbucks is finally drawing a line in the sand and creating a mold for other large brands to follow", said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing.
Customers in the company's hometown of Seattle and nearby Vancouver will be the first to see the strawless lids as they roll out this fall. McDonald's is road testing the use of biodegradable straws for its drinks.
They typically use up to one billion straws a year, according to the company, and this could reduce harmful damage to ocean pollution which poses a danger to marine life. The move will affect around 5,000 restaurants in requiring alternative straw options and more strawless lids. "With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines." .
The new lid is made from polypropylene plastic that can be widely recycled.
Starbucks is far from the only company striving to cut its use of plastic.
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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