Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws from all stores

Courtesy MGN Online

Starbucks - which has more than 28,000 stores and generated $22.4 billion in annual revenue previous year - is the largest retailer to commit to eliminating single-use plastic straws. Plastic straws have become a flashpoint.

In a move meant to cut back on waste, the global coffee giant said Monday that it would eliminate plastic straws from its more than 28,000 locations globally by 2020. It will be implemented in Seattle and Vancouver beginning this fall, the company said.

Last week, Seattle's ban on single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service outlets took effect, and Starbucks says it already offers alternative straws there.

Starbucks said that it will begin using the strawless alternatives in Seattle and Vancouver stores by this fall, and expand to the USA and Canada, followed by other global locations, in fiscal year 2019. Similar proposals are being considered in places like NY and San Francisco.

Other communities across the country, including Sanibel Island, located in Florida, are also on the list of places considering a ban on these plastic products.

The waste issue is coming up in company boardrooms, though Starbucks is taking the lead among global companies on straws. In February, Dunkin' Donuts said that it would eliminate polystyrene foam cups from its stores by 2020.

Alternative-material straws such as paper or compostable plastic will be rolled-out for Frappuccino beverages, and they will also be available for customers upon request if they would prefer a straw. The burger chain said this year that it would use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025.

Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and pose a danger to marine life. 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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