Starbucks to ditch plastic straws globally by 2020

Plastics and other debris line an estuary in Kentucky

The coffee giant said Monday that it will replace the ubiquitous plastic straw with recyclable "strawless lids", as well as straws made from biodegradable materials, as part of a no-plastic-straws movement that has gained momentum in recent years.

Starbucks said that it will begin using the strawless alternatives in Seattle and Vancouver stores by this fall, and expand to the US and Canada, followed by other global locations, in fiscal year 2019.

Plastic straws will soon be out at Starbucks.

Little did she know at the time that the experimental project would become the standard lid design for iced drinks served at all 28,000 stores around the world.

"With 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space", Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancys Trash Free Seas program, said in the release. Ice-blended Frappuccinos, meanwhile, will be served with straws made of paper or compostable plastic.

Straws are a small contributor to the overall plastic problem, but they are an easy target since most people don't require a straw to consume a beverage.

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At Starbucks, executives said the efforts are part of a $10 million plan to develop cups and lids that are fully recyclable and compostable.

Starbucks predicts that it will eliminate more than 1 billion straws yearly. A global rollout will follow, starting in Europe where the strawless lids will arrive in select stores in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Last week, Seattle became the latest city to ban plastic utensils and straws.

Other companies have also been ditching plastic straws in recent months.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he said in a statement.

And the city of Vancouver will become the first Canadian city to ban plastic drinking straws, along with Styrofoam cups and take-out containers, when the new rule takes effect next summer.

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