Starbucks to scrap plastic straws globally by 2020

Plastics and other debris line an estuary in Kentucky

Plastics and other debris line an estuary in Kentucky

Starbucks announced Monday that it would rid company stores of single-use plastic straws by 2020 and provide sustainable alternatives.

Starbucks's strawless lids "will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages" in Seattle and Vancouver this fall.

Americans supposedly use 500 million plastic straws every day-or not.

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. The company then plans to launch a phased rollout throughout Canada and the US, and finally in stores worldwide.

Starbucks said cold beverages in which a straw is typically included make up 50% of the drinks its sells, up from just 37% five years ago. Straws, though, will still be available - made from paper or compostable plastic.

The European Commission has proposed new rules that would ban the 10 biggest plastic pollutants found on Europe's beaches and in European waters, including plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, stir sticks and balloon sticks. A global rollout will follow, starting in Europe where the strawless lids will arrive in select stores in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The company says the move when fully implemented could mean a billion fewer plastic straws across its stores each year. Since then, more images of plastic-filled stomachs of sea birds, whales, and other wildlife have driven home the message that straws do far more damage than good and, being utterly unnecessary (for the most part, unless someone has disabilities), can stand to be eliminated.

Also see: What kind of straws are actually eco-friendly?

Other cities, like Fort Meyers, have banned plastic straws as well.

Grenier, best known for his role in the TV show Entourage, urged Starbucks at its March shareholders meeting in Seattle to take action. In February, Dunkin' Donuts said that it would eliminate polystyrene foam cups from its stores by 2020.

"By nature, the straw isn't recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible", said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks.

This isn't the first time Starbucks has considered the environmental impact its customers waste has. Phased rollouts within the United States and Canada will then follow.

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