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

09 July, 2018, 18:40 | Author: Regina Silva
  • A Starbucks employee hands out coffee samples in Target in downtown Portland on Nov. 24 2017

It's a plastic strawless lid that will come to replace single-use plastic straws that now inundate its coffee shops.

Starbucks says it will become the largest food and beverage retailer to commit to eliminating plastic straws, a change it says it will complete by 2020.

The Seattle-based company said on Monday it will instead use straws made from other materials, and lids designed not to need straws.

To eliminate straws, Starbucks is transitioning from the flat, plastic lids that require them, to ones that feature a raised lip you can drink from.

Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and pose a danger to marine life. "Metal straws can be unsafe for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions".

Other communities across the country, including Sanibel Island, located in Florida, are also on the list of places considering a ban on these plastic products.

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A number of restaurants and private establishments also have taken measures to curb their use of plastic straws.

Starbucks will start the transition away from plastic straws in Seattle and in Vancouver in the fall, before launching a phased rollout in the U.S.in its fiscal 2019. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.

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 unsafe for people, depending on their disability.

Still, those who support limiting plastic straws say they are generally unnecessary and a ban is good symbol.

In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts.

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