Starbucks will eliminate all plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks will eliminate all plastic straws by 2020

A week after its hometown banned plastic drinking straws and utensils, the Seattle company said Monday that by 2020, it will be using straws made from biodegradable materials like paper and specially designed lids. These new straws will also be made available upon request to customers who prefer or need a straw, the company said.

Starbucks predicts that it will eliminate more than 1 billion straws yearly. Its beverages will feature recyclable lids featuring a raised lip, like those pictured here.

And therefore, in one of the company's first moves towards this goal, they have introduced a new cup for their cold brews.

The company will be making "a strawless lid or alternative-material straw options available", the statement said. On July 1, Seattle became the first US city to ban plastic straws, spoons, forks and knives.

Straws have become a focal point in the anti-plastic movement in the last few years because they are impossible to recycle, due to their size and chemical composition.

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By the fall, all cold coffee beverages in Seattle and Vancouver will be served with the same strawless lid now offered for the cold brew drinks. In March, for example, the company announced a $10 million challenge to design a disposable coffee cup that is compostable.

Other municipalities mulling over the same kind of measure include Portland and New York City; California is considering a statewide ban. Straws add about 1,800 tonnes of the more than eight million tonnes of plastic waste that is dumped into waters every year.

Earlier this year, Taiwan announced an ambitious plan to ban single-use plastic items like straws, cups and shopping bags by 2030.

Starbucks said more markets will follow until the chain meets its goal. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the almost 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in the water each year. A global rollout, starting with Europe, will come next. Phased rollouts within the USA and Canada will then follow.

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