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

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

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

Starbucks announced Monday it will eliminate single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores around the world.

The issue is coming up in company boardrooms, though Starbucks is taking the lead among large food chains. The lids will become standard for all iced drinks except Frappuccino, which will still have a domed lid but be served with a paper straw or one made of compostable material. The environmentally friendly lid is now available in more than 8,000 of its stores in the US and Canada for select beverages, including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam.

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. A plastic straw weighs about 0.4 g.

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Straws made with alternative materials like paper and compostable plastic will be provided with Frappuccinos, as well as upon request by customers.

The strawless lid, which features a raised lip, is already available in more than 8,000 stores in the USA and Canada for select beverages. A global rollout, starting with Europe, will come next.

Seattle, where Starbucks is based, recently became the first city in the country to ban plastic utensils and straws. Malibu, Calif., Miami Beach, Fla., and Monmouth Beach, N.J., also prohibit single-use sippers.

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I am pleased with the announcement, too, and eagerly await the day when needlessly sipping on a straw is seen as a harmful and archaic behavior. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

Americans use about 175 million straws every day, according to an estimate by Technomics. Among the big names advocating for straw bans are actor Adrian Grenier, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and actor Kendrick Sampson.

"This move is an answer to our own partners about what we can do to reduce the need for straws", said Colleen Chapman, vice president of Starbucks global social impact overseeing sustainability. "I hope all of you will listen to her".

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The design was created by R&D engineer Emily Alexander, who was asked in 2016 to create a new straw-less lid that would showcase the Draft Nitro coffee and cold foam served at a Reserve store in Seattle.

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