Starbucks to Eliminate Plastic Straws in All Stores Worldwide

Starbucks is going strawless.

On Monday, the coffee chain announced their plans to get rid of plastic straws in over 28,000 of their stores worldwide by 2020. In lieu of plastic, Starbucks will offer strawless lids, which are already available in over 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. The coffee joint will also offer straws made out of alternative materials such as paper or compostable plastic for Frappuccinos and any other iced beverage by customer request.

According to a company spokesperson, Starbucks’ move away from plastic is expected to eliminate over 1 billion plastic straws per year, and follows their previous commitment to develop a fully recyclable compostable hot cup in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, through the NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge.

“For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways,” Kevin Johnson, president and CEO for Starbucks, said in a statement.

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Starbucks is not the first company to eliminate single-use plastic straws from their product offerings. In June, McDonald’s announced their plans to phase out plastic straws in their European stores with a possible future rollout of the policy in the U.S., BBC reports. On July 1, the city of Seattle banned plastic straws and utensils from “all food service businesses,” according to CNN. Violators will be subject to a $250 fine.

Many of these companies, including Starbucks, cite ocean conservancy in their decision to remove plastic straws from their stores. According to a 2016 New Plastic Economy report, it is estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean than straws by the year 2050.

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“Starbucks goal to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 from their stores globally represents the company’s forward thinking in tackling the material waste challenge in totality,” said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, U.S. “Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species.”

Starbucks’ planned rollout of the alternative straw methods is expected to begin in Seattle and Vancouver in the fall of 2018, with the change coming to more retail locations in the U.S. and Canada in early 2019. Then, the coffee chain will release the products in select European stores in France, the Netherlands, and the UK later that year.

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