Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Starbucks is done with plastic straws

Starbucks is done with plastic straws

While plastic pollution has always been the target of environmental groups, the impact of straws on marine life has recently moved to the centre of plastic-banning efforts. Some governments have begun banning them.

Straws made from alternative materials, including paper or compostable plastic, will also be available for Frappuccino blended beverages and for customers who prefer or need a straw.

Plastic drinking straws make up only about 4 per cent of plastic trash by number of pieces, and far less by weight.

Replacing the item is an innovative new lid design by Starbucks' Global Research & Development engineer Emily Alexander.

Vancouver will be the first Canadian city to have the new lids, starting in the fall of this year.

Targeting plastic-straws over other single-use plastic "shows a real tendency towards a populist, easy fix solution" and is a "flippant thing to do" she says. It is "a cleaner, less-ridged version of a hot cup lid", the company said in a statement.

Other cities, like Fort Myers Beach in Florida, have banned plastic straws, and similar proposals are being considered in NY and San Francisco.

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Thyme & Again Creative Catering got rid of plastic straws nearly ten years ago, after the owner felt concerned about plastic pollution on land and in the ocean.

The movement to eliminate single-use plastic straws is gaining momentum globally as consumers are showing an increasing concern for the issue of waste. That's when Seattle's ban on restaurants providing plastic straws went into effect, part of an effort to protect ocean wildlife.

The global coffee company has announced that this move will come with a reduction of one billion plastic straws from their stores throughout the world.

"*Gets rid of plastic straw *Replaced with large plastic sipping lid", wrote one Twitter user. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".

"With 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space", Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancys Trash Free Seas program, said in the release.

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

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he said in a statement.

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