Starbucks Says It Will Phase Out Plastic Straws

Courtesy of Starbucks

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also introduced a plan in April to ban the sale of plastic straws.

Starbucks is going strawless.

The strawless lids at Starbucks will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver this fall, with phased rollouts within the USA and Canada next year.

The move echoes a trend of companies and cities attempting to move away from single-use plastic straws, which can be detrimental to the environment and take an estimated 450 years to decompose. The move is expected to eliminate the use of more than 1 billion straws a year.

While plastic pollution has always been the target of environmental groups, the impact of straws on marine life has recently moved to the centre of plastic-banning efforts.

Those lids will be available in all of the company's Vancouver and Seattle outlets by this fall - and phased rollouts across Canada and the U-S will be underway by next year.

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In order to eliminate straws, Starbucks will begin transitioning its flat plastic lids to recyclable plastic lids that feature a raised lip that you can drink from.

"*Gets rid of plastic straw *Replaced with large plastic sipping lid", wrote one Twitter user. Many communities are starting to look at the idea of banning single-use plastic items such as cups, straws, bags and utensils. It will be trialing a "5p" fee on takeaway hot drink cups, nicknamed a "latte levy," in London, with rollout to 950 other stores in the United Kingdom, to encourage use of reusable cups.

Actor an environmental advocate Adrian Grenier says he delivered a statement to Starbucks shareholders in March pleading for the company to adopt more environmentally-friendly policies. The push to ban plastic straws gained traction after a viral video in 2015 showed rescuers removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle's nose in graphic detail.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws. Phased rollouts within the U.S. 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", Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program, said regarding Starbucks' announcement on Monday. "With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he continued.

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