Starbucks Announces Plans to Ban Single-Use Plastic Straws by 2020

A patron holds an iced beverage at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena

A patron holds an iced beverage at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena California

Starbucks says it will become the largest food and beverage retailer to commit to eliminating plastic straws, a change it says it will complete by 2020. Plastic straws have become a flashpoint.

The company's announcement comes a week after it's hometown, Seattle, banned single-use plastic straws and utensils at businesses that sell food or drinks in the city.

It's a plastic strawless lid that will come to replace single-use plastic straws that now inundate its coffee shops.

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Vancouver will be the first Canadian city to have the new lids, starting in the fall of this year.

Walt Disney World has banned plastic straws at some of its theme parks, while the Smithsonian Institution has taken steps to eliminate them from its museums. Similar proposals are being considered elsewhere, including NY and San Francisco.

The waste issue is coming up in company boardrooms, though Starbucks is taking the lead among global companies on straws.

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The strawless lid, which features a raised lip, is already available in more than 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for select beverages.

A global rollout of the strawless lids will follow, beginning in Europe where they will be used in selected stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the United Kingdom.

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 risky for people, depending on their disability.

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Starbucks announced Monday that it will stop using plastic straws at all of its stores worldwide. Straws add up to only about 2,000 tons of the almost 9m tons of plastic waste that hits waters each year.

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