Starbucks announced today that it will eliminate single-use plastic straws by 2020 in an effort to protect the environment.
The Seattle company will phase in strawless lids, which are currently available at 8,000 or its 28,000 stores worldwide. Paper or compostable straws will also be available by request.
The announcement comes a week after Seattle banned plastic drinking straws and utensils. Similar bans are being considered in New York and San Francisco, and Fort Meyers has also banned straws, according to an AP report.
That report noted that straws make up a mere 2,000 tons of the almost 9 million tons of plastic waste that end up in the oceans and waters way every year.
Starbucks is just the latest global company to institute practices designed to protect the environment:
• Dunkin’ Donuts said it will ban polystyrene foam cups in its stores by 2020
• McDonald’s said it will switch to paper straws in the UK and Ireland next year, and convert to greener materials for its packaging by 2025
Starbucks is also testing a surcharge for paper cups in London to promote the use of reusable cups. Customers who bring their own cups or tumblers currently receive a discount.
Environmental groups applauded the move on Monday.
“Starbucks decision to phase out single-use plastic straws is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic. With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space,” said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program.