The Starbucks Company will eliminate single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 company operated and licensed stores by 2020.
The coffee chain announced that Plastic straws will be replaced with new recyclable strawless lid and alternative-material straw options,
Starbucks is the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a global commitment.
The company anticipates the move will eliminate over one billion plastic straws per year from Starbucks stores, according to the announcement.
Starbucks has designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages.
The lid is currently available in more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada for select beverages, such as Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam.
In addition, Starbucks will begin offering straws made from alternative materials, such as paper or compostable material. They will be available by request for customers who prefer or need a straw.
The announcement comes a week after its hometown of Seattle banned plastic drinking straws and utensils. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.
Customers in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to see the strawless lids implemented, starting this fall, with phased rollouts within the U.S. and Canada. A global rollout of the strawless lid will follow, beginning in Europe.
“Starbucks' goal to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 from their stores globally represents the company’s forward thinking in tackling the material waste challenge in totality,” said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), U.S.
Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species. WWF hopes others will follow in Starbucks' footsteps, Simon said.
Starbucks' decision is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in reducing plastic in the ocean, Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, said in the announcement.
The movement to eliminate plastic straws has been gaining tremendous momentum around the globe, as consumers show increased concern for the greater issue of plastic waste.
Other companies have also showed participation in the movement away from plastic straws.
McDonald’s voted down a proposal requesting a report on plastic straws in May.
However, the burger chain said in June that it will switch to paper straws at all its locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It will also test an alternative to plastic ones in some of its U.S. restaurants later this year.
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