Starbucks to phase out single-use plastic straws for sippy cups, alternatives

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

Replacing a plastic straw with a new plastic lid does have its environmental benefits, Starbucks said.

Starbucks is going strawless.

Stores in Seattle and Vancouver will be first to begin using these new items and other locations will start to adopt them as part of Starbucks' $10 million plan to introduce fully recyclable cups and lids.

Berks County residents grabbing a morning cup of iced coffee at Starbucks locations may soon notice a lack of plastic straws with their favorite drinks.

Starbucks is the latest company to announce a ban on plastic straws, but 95 Utah businesses already took the pledge months ago.

Starbucks says customers will first notice the change in its Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia-based stores before "phased rollouts" across the rest of the USA and Canada.

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Straws made from alternative materials, including paper or compostable plastic, will also be available for Frappuccino blended beverages and for customers who prefer or need a straw.

Across the pond, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced a plan in April to prohibit the sale of plastic straws and drink stirrers, along with plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

Cities have banned them, the United Kingdom is considering a country-wide ban while supermarkets and bars world-wide are no longer supplying them.

While Australia still comes to grips with the single-use plastic bag ban adopted by supermarkets Woolworths and Coles and other retailers, plastic straws have become another battleground for companies looking to reduce waste. Recipe Unlimited Corporation, formerly known as Cara Operations, and its 19 brands will phase out using plastic straws by the end of March 2019. Alaska Airlines said in May that it's phasing out the use of plastic stirrers and straws in its drinks after receiving a call to action from an environmentally-concerned Girl Scout. Phased rollouts within the USA and Canada will then follow.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program in a statement.

"I think while we totally support moves to make our environment more sustainable, there are so many ways we can do that without prioritising ones that really negatively affect some disabled people", says Ms Woodbury.

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