Starbucks, citing environment, is ditching plastic straws

Muriel Hammond
July 10, 2018

Starbucks (sbux) will replace plastic straws with recyclable strawless lids, which it will serve with all of its iced coffee, tea, and espresso drinks.

Starbucks Coffee Co. plans to phase out single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 company-operated and licensed stores by 2020 in an effort to reduce its global waste footprint.

Other companies have been ditching plastic straws as bans on the item have gone into place.

Viral videos - including one depicting researchers extracting a plastic straw from a sea turtle's bleeding nostril - is prompting some companies and municipalities to find ocean-friendlier alternatives. As BBC News reported in February, a Scotland-based disability group called One in Five says paper, plant-based, and metal straws aren't adequate substitutes for single-use plastic straws and could even be unsafe for people, depending on their disability. Plastic straws never completely decompose and can be harmful, even fatal, to animals that ingest them.

Starbucks will start the transition away from plastic straws in Seattle and in Vancouver in the fall, before launching a phased rollout in the U.S.in its fiscal 2019.


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

Starbucks said more markets will follow until the chain meets its goal.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws.

Last week, Seattle became the country's first major city to ban single use plastic straws. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program, called Starbucks' decision a "shining example" of how companies can help fight ocean pollution.

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