Starbucks: Goodbye plastic straws

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Straws made with alternative materials like paper and compostable plastic will be provided with Frappuccinos, as well as upon request by customers.

Global coffee giant Starbucks will ditch plastic straws from their cafes from 2020, becoming the largest food and beverage company to make the eco-friendly move. Well, that would be by way of a new so-called "strawless lid", which will become standard for all iced coffee, tea, and espresso beverages, according to a news release.

The strawless lid has already been in use at numerous company's stores for certain kinds of cold drinks like cold foam and "draft nitro", the coffee drink that comes out of a keg, mixed with nitrogen.

To comply with the July 1 plastic straw ban, Starbucks stores in Seattle are offering customers new compostable straws, splash sticks and cutlery.

And therefore, in one of the company's first moves towards this goal, they have introduced a new cup for their cold brews. The potential harm of ocean waste, particularly from plastic straws, drew widespread attention after a 2015 YouTube video of a sea turtle with a straw up its nostril went viral.

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Starbucks joins companies, cities, and countries around the world that have banned plastic straws.

For customers like Sarah Martincic of Oley Township, the new strawless lids are a convenient solution to a pressing problem. "Although plastic straws are only a small part of the waste humans produce, eliminating them is a very good first step to take, because straws are unnecessary for most people".

"With eight 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".

Starbucks announced they plan on eliminating plastic straws by 2020. 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. Next, phased rollouts will start within the USA and in Canada in 2019, followed by a global rollout starting in select stores in France, the Netherlands, and the UK.

According to The Guardian, straws add around 2,000 tonnes of waste per year and make up around 4% of the plastic waste now in the ocean. "As we partner with Starbucks in waste reduction initiatives such as Next Gen Consortium Cup Challenge and WWF's Cascading Materials Vision, we hope others will follow in their footsteps".

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