Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws by 2020

Plastics and other debris line an estuary in Kentucky

Plastics and other debris line an estuary in Kentucky

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.

"Starbucks' goal to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 from their stores globally represents the company's forward thinking in tackling the material waste challenge in totality", Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, U.S., said in a statement.

Those straws will be provided for blended Frappuccino beverages, or by special request, the company said.

At Happy Goat Coffee, straws are only available to those who need them, including young children and people with disabilities, Assad said.

The strawless lid is now available in more than 8,000 Canadian and USA locations for some beverages.

"Some of the biggest sellers of coffee in the United Kingdom, including Costa and Starbucks, say they have started recycling coffee cups, but that's only if customers dispose of their takeaway cups in store".

As well as the lid innovation, Starbucks has invested $10 million to conjure the design of a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup.

Plastic straws are the next target for companies wanting to reduce on their waste. The company plans to phase them out completely. Vancouver will become the first Canadian city to do so in the fall of 2019.

Starbucks' headquarters are in Seattle, where a ban on plastic straws just kicked in. In May, the European Union also suggested a ban on some plastic items, including straws. Several local USA governments have enacted bans and fees on plastic bags.

Starbucks' move is garnering lavish praise from some environmental activists.

McDonald's also 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. "Starbucks is finally drawing a line in the sand and creating a mold for other large brands to follow".

The custom lids will also be introduced in the United Kingdom, just as the market expands its £0.05 (US$0.07) paper cup charge to 950 stores.

Numerous advocacy groups, including Ocean Conservancy, welcomed the move.

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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