Ditching plastic straws is a positive move for the company, but it is clear they still have a ways to go on removing plastic cups and lids from their repertoire.
Starbucks is going strawless.
While recycling straws is impractical, the company said, the new lid is made from polypropylene and will be more easily processed by recyclers.
Plastic straws will be phased out by 2020.
The plastic straw ban isn't the only initiative Starbucks is taking to fight ocean pollution and promote sustainability.
Environmental activists have been pressuring businesses to ditch plastic straws because they can end up in the ocean and hurt marine life.
By the fall, all cold coffee beverages in Seattle and Vancouver will be served with the same strawless lid now offered for the cold brew drinks.
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.
"Most people don't know this but plastic straws are not recyclable", said Bellefontaine. And straws contribute only 2,000 tons to the nearly nine million tons of plastic waste that wind up in the water annually, according to the Associated Press. McDonald's said earlier this year that it would stop using plastic straws at all of its stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The transition will be complete in 2019, the company said.
While Australia still comes to grips with the single-use plastic bag ban adopted by supermarkets Woolworths and Coles and other retailers, plastic straws have become another battleground for companies looking to reduce waste.
"Not using a straw is the best thing we can do for the environment".
In the United States, local governments are already putting similar restrictions into place. "Starbucks taught the world how to drink coffee, and I believe that this commitment will help teach the world how to embrace sustainable business practices - starting with the plastic straw", said Grenier. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".
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.
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