Starbucks to DITCH plastic straws over environmental concerns

A Starbucks employee hands out coffee samples in Target in downtown Portland on Nov. 24 2017

Swedish furniture giant IKEA recently announced that it will stop selling single-use plastic products at all its stores globally by 2020.

"For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways", Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, said in a statement. And it's a part of Starbucks' $10 million investment in creating recyclable and compostable cups around the world.

Starbucks will start rolling out strawless lids for all drinks in the fall.

Other companies have been ditching plastic straws as bans on the item have gone into place.

McDonald's recently said it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year, and test alternatives to plastic straws in some USA locations.

Local governments have also been looking at the issue. Seattle's ban on plastic straws and utensils went into effect last week.

For customers who prefer to have or need a straw, Starbucks said straws made of paper or compostable plastic will be available upon request - for their Frappuccino blended beverages. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".

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.

Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program, called Starbucks' decision a "shining example" of how companies can help fight ocean pollution. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the almost 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in waters around the globe each year.

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