Starbucks Says It Will Phase Out Plastic Straws

Starbucks Says It Will Phase Out Plastic Straws

Starbucks Says It Will Phase Out Plastic Straws

The coffee-shop giant announced Monday that it will use recyclable strawless lids and an alternative-material straw option in its more than 28,000 stores around the world.

Seattle, where Starbucks is headquartered, implemented a ban on single-use plastic straws and utensils last week; Fort Myers Beach, Fla., has also ditched straws, while NY and San Francisco are considering similar proposals. On July 1, Seattle became the first USA city to ban plastic straws, spoons, forks and knives.

"The strawless lid is made from polypropylene, a commonly-accepted recyclable plastic that can be captured in recycling infrastructure, unlike straws which are too small [and] lightweight to be captured in modern recycling equipment", a spokesperson told Mic in an email. 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.

Pressure has been building for businesses to shed single-use plastic straws due to the threat they pose to marine life and the health of the world's oceans.

It comes a week after Starbucks's United States hometown of Seattle banned single-use plastic straws and utensils at businesses that sell food or drinks in the city.

About 275 million metric tons of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons entering the ocean, according to a 2015 Science magazine report. The new designs have drawn comparisons to an adult "sippy cup".

In a release, the company stated its stores in Seattle and Vancouver would see the departure of plastic straws first, beginning in the fall. Doing some serious math, the chain says the move will keep an estimated 1 billion straws out of landfills.

Starbucks said it hopes other major retailers will make the same move away from plastic.

For customers who prefer to have or need a straw, Starbucks said straws made of paper or compostable plastic will be available upon request - for their Frappuccino blended beverages.

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