Sci-tech

Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks said cold beverages in which a straw is typically included make up 50% of the drinks its sells, up from just 37% five years ago.

Starbucks will begin offering "strawless lids" on iced coffee, tea and espresso drinks.

By 2020, the company announced today, it will have entirely eliminated the use of single-use plastic straws in stores around the world. Plastic straws have become a flashpoint.

The brewer is phasing out plastic, one-time-use straws, because of material waste and danger to aquatic sea life they can cause. Ice-blended Frappuccinos, meanwhile, will be served with straws made of paper or compostable plastic.

WATCH: Plastic straw ban?

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The recyclable lids are already in use in about 8,000 Starbucks locations in the United States and Canada, the company said. Starbucks announced it plans on removing plastic straws from its 28,000 stores by 2020. As Fast Company reported, plastic straws have been banned or are planned to be banned by Alaska Airlines and McDonald's U.K., as well as in Vancouver, the U.K., Taiwan, Seattle, Miami Beach, and in California cities such as Oakland and Berkeley, to name a few.

"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".

In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts. In May, the European Union also suggested a ban on some plastic items, including straws.

Local government officials across the country are considering banning plastic straws, and some Charlottesville businesses have gotten a head start. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the almost 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in waters around the globe each year.


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