Starbucks, citing ocean threat, is ditching plastic straws

Starbucks to ditch plastic straws globally by 2020 to help environment

The company says the move when fully implemented could mean a billion fewer plastic straws across its stores each year.

Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws from its stores globally by 2020, in a nod to the growing push for businesses to be more environmentally friendly.

The company's announcement comes a week after it's hometown, Seattle, banned single-use plastic straws and utensils at businesses that sell food or drinks in the city.

Straws are a small contributor to the overall plastic problem, but they are an easy target since most people don't require a straw to consume a beverage.

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Still, those who support limiting plastic straws say they are generally unnecessary and a ban is good symbol. Similar proposals are being considered in places like NY and San Francisco. The ordinance is a reflection of a broader global movement to cut back on plastic usage as consumers become more aware of its environmental impact-particularly its role in polluting the world's oceans. In February, Dunkin' Donuts said that it would eliminate polystyrene foam cups from its stores by 2020. McDonald's said earlier this year that it would stop using plastic straws at all of its stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

McDonald's shareholders voted down a proposal requesting a report on plastic straws in May. 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.

Starbucks said it will make available strawless lids or straws made of other materials instead.

A global rollout of the strawless lid will begin in Europe, starting with select stores in France and the Netherlands.

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