Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in stores globally by 2020

Courtesy of Starbucks

Courtesy of Starbucks

Customers have been calling on the chain to remove single use straws from their 28,000 stores for the past two years, with many envrionmental groups creating petitions and platforms to gain the company's attention but now, it looks like wheels are finally in motion to become "straw-free" in all stores by this time two years.

Instead, its beverages will be capped with strawless lids - reminiscent of an "adult sippy cup" - or served with straws made from alternative materials "including paper or compostable plastic", according to a statement.

The exception to the new lid will be the Frappuccino, which will be served with a paper or compostable straw.

The move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year, the company said. Its beverages will feature recyclable lids featuring a raised lip, like those pictured here. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.

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An online petition calling on Starbucks to say goodbye to plastic straws has close to 150,000 signatures. On July 1, Seattle became the first USA city to ban plastic straws, spoons, forks and knives. By 2020, it says that all iced coffee, espresso, and tea beverages will come with strawless lids, remodelled for easy sipping. Starbucks said it has committed more than $10 million to this initiative so far. Plastic straws have become one of the biggest targets. McDonald's said earlier this year that it would stop using plastic straws at all of its stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Starbucks joins companies, cities, and countries around the world that have banned plastic straws.

The UK government said that 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die each year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

A global rollout of the strawless lid will begin in Europe, starting with select stores in France and the Netherlands. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also introduced a plan in April to ban the sale of plastic straws. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".

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