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, which doles out more than 1 billion straws a year, says it will phase out single-use plastic straws from its stores by 2020.

Starbucks says that it has "designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages". These now come with drinks like the Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam, and will come with the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew to be released on Tuesday.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws.

Starbucks said Monday that it is making available a strawless lid at 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for certain drinks. They essentially look like sippy cup lids - regular plastic lids with a raised and slanted mouthpiece for customers to drink from.

The company is the latest to announce a ban on the straws as global awareness of ocean pollution and harm to marine life increases.

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The company said in a release that paper or compostable straws will be available for customers upon request, and will be served with their Frappuccino blended drinks.

The announcement from McDonald's followed an April proposal by the United Kingdom government to ban plastic straws in the country. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws. Straws add up to only about 2,000 tons of the almost 9m tons of plastic waste that hits waters each year.

"Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species", said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, US, in a statement. Phased rollouts within the U.S. and Canada will then follow.

That's right all plastic straws will be completely eliminated from Starbucks stores very soon, the company wants to get rid of them all by the year 2020.

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