Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks unveils environment-friendly lid for cold drinks which puts straws on shelf

Just a few weeks after its home city of Seattle banned plastic straws, Starbucks is following suit.

Plastic straws typically cost less than a half-cent each, while paper varieties can easily run four times that, according to Kara Woodring, a sales representative at Aardvark, a Colo. -based paper straw manufacturer.

Yet here we are in 2018, and straws are being singled out as a prime culprit of environmental degradation, particularly in the coffee industry, where plastic and polystyrene foam (styrofoam) for decades helped pave the way for a high-volume drinks sales model.

And the city of Vancouver will become the first Canadian city to ban plastic drinking straws, along with Styrofoam cups and take-out containers, when the new rule takes effect next summer.

"It's a good thing", said Susan Fromm, of Wyomissing.

The new lid is made from polypropylene plastic that can be widely recycled. Disabled people who rely on straws, meanwhile, have urged policymakers to consider their needs in the conversation.

"I'm all for saving the planet; I want to save the oceans, but not at the expense of my independence and pleasure". "As we partner with Starbucks in waste reduction initiatives such as Next Gen Consortium Cup Challenge and WWF's Cascading Materials Vision, we hope others will follow in their footsteps". Many of those straws end up in landfills, where they can sit for centuries without decomposing, or in the ocean, where they're often ingested by animals.

The advocacy group 5 Gyres notes that the top five biggest sources of single-use plastic are plastic bags, water bottles, to-go containers, to-go cups and straws.

Why are plastic straws so bad?

It's predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than marine life.

How do you feel about businesses voluntarily ditching plastic straws?

Starbucks plans to offer a strawless lid or straws made of paper or compostable material instead of plastic. Starbucks says it expects an alternative it has to work in that regard. Stainless steel and paper straws have become hot new items for drinking cool beverages.

Why don't the alternatives work?

Ms Woodbury says the disabled are aware of alternative straws, but they are not always usable.

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