Starbucks to Phase Out Plastic Straws From Its Stores By 2020
Starbucks’ Transitioning Process
Earlier this week, Starbucks announced that it had begun taking steps to take out plastic straws from all its stores globally and hopes to complete the elimination before the end of 2020. According to the company, they have begun the implementation of changes that would help them eliminate over 1 billion plastic straws yearly.
Thus, to phase out the need for straws for its products, the coffee company has started a transition process from using flat plastic lids that need straws to use of lids with raised lips that do not require the use of straws. The first set of the Starbucks new lids would reportedly be brought to its stores in Canada, Seattle, and Vancouver this fall.
According to the company, its frappuccino drinks would still be served using dome lids, but the straws would be made of paper and not compostable plastic. The company also added that customers who preferred to use straws for other variants of beverages would have the liberty to request the eco-friendly straws. Currently, the coffee maker already serves some of its drinks, including cold brew with cold foam, with cups that have strawless lids.
Speaking on the transitioning, Kevin Johnson, the CEO of Starbucks described it as a vital milestone in the sustainability efforts of the company. Sources claimed that the company has already devoted $10million for the development of compostable and recyclable cups for serving hot drinks.
Government Bans Spur Transition
Due to the ocean pollution and detrimental effects which plastics have on the marine ecosystem, various governments have begun placing bans on their uses.
For instance, the European Union in May hinted at a ban on plastic items, with the inclusion of single-use straws. The European Commission reportedly intends to ban about ten products that account for 70% of all litter in EU waters and beaches. The items to be banned include drink stirrer and plastic plates. The proposed legislation would not just ban plastic products, but also ensure that plastic producers took responsibility for the cost of cleanup efforts and waste management activities
Similarly, in the US, the local authorities have begun setting up similar bans. For instance, California, Berkeley, Oakland and some other cities have placed bans on the use of plastic straws. Media outlets also reported last week that the ban on plastic straws and utensils has gone into effect in Seattle.
According to the UK government, about a million birds and over 100,000 sea creatures die yearly either by consuming or getting tangled in plastic waste.
Starbucks claims to be the largest beverage and food retailer to have made a promise to eliminate plastic straws, and its commitment and actions have begun getting the coffee maker commendations and accolades from different quarters. According to the director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, Nicholas Mallos, about eight million metric tons of plastic get into the ocean yearly, and the industry had to play a part in bringing an end to ocean pollution. Mallos stated that Starbucks stood as a bright example of how companies could take up roles in bringing an end to the pollution.
According to Erin Simon, director of sustainability research at World Wildlife Fund in the US, marine species are devastatingly affected by plastic wastes that get into the ocean, and thus advised other companies to follow in the steps of Starbucks.
It will be recalled that the announcement of the Indian government of the ban on single-use plastic items such as shopping bags, cutleries, and food containers went into effect last month in India. Reportedly, Starbucks and McDonald’s franchises in India were allegedly slammed different amount of fines for violating the ban.
Other Companies’ Transition
Starbucks isn’t the only company moving away from using plastic straws due to the new bans in effect. Hyatt has also announced that single-use plastic straws and drinks stirrers would only be available on request at its hotels as from September 1 because the company also plans to stop the use of plastic straws completely.
Media outlets reported last month that McDonald’s claimed that it would also begin transitioning to paper straws in Ireland and the UK in September, hoping to complete the transition by 2019. McDonald’s announcement came after the UK government proposed in April to ban the use of plastic straws in the country.
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