Starbucks, citing environment, is ditching plastic straws

Starbucks, citing environment, is ditching plastic straws

The company becomes the largest food and beverage company to do so as calls to cut waste globally grow louder.

The strawless lid rollout will hit Seattle and Vancouver first, starting this fall, followed by "phased rollouts" in the US and Canada during fiscal year 2019 and a global rollout beginning in Europe.

The company said in a release that paper or compostable straws will be available for customers upon request, and will be served with their Frappuccino blended drinks.

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.

"Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species". On July 1, Seattle became the first USA city to ban plastic straws, spoons, forks and knives. It is "a cleaner, less-ridged version of a hot cup lid", the company said in a statement.

Starbucks says customers will first notice the change in its Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia-based stores before "phased rollouts" across the rest of the US and Canada.

In Asia, the lid is being piloted for Nitro beverages in markets such as China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Starbucks' bold move is also one step further on top of its "global cup solution", a campaign Starbucks launched in March this year aiming to develop a fully recyclable and compostable cup for the entire restaurant industry by 2020. McDonald's said in June it would start switching to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland in September. The Seattle-based carrier, which said it handed out 22 million stir straws and citrus picks previous year, also said it would have non-plastic, marine-friendly drinking straws for travelers that request them. The company says that the decision to ban plastic straws was made in response to concerns from its customers about the waste that the straws become.

According to The Guardian, straws add around 2,000 tonnes of waste per year and make up around 4% of the plastic waste now in the ocean.

This new initiative is inspired by Seattle's recent ban on plastic straws, where Starbucks has its headquarters.

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