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Starbucks, citing environment, is ditching plastic straws

09 July 2018

Starbucks - which has more than 28,000 stores and generated $22.4 billion in annual revenue previous year - is the largest retailer to commit to eliminating single-use plastic straws.

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.

The coffeecompany announced Monday that it will phase out plastic strawsfrom all of its stores by 2020. Some offer more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as straws made of paper, bamboo, steel, even Twizzlers.

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Environmental activists have been pressuring businesses to ditch plastic straws because they can end up in the ocean and hurt marine life.

Starbucks said the new strawless lids will first be implemented in Seattle and Vancouver in the third quarter of this year.

To eliminate straws, Starbucks is transitioning from the flat, plastic lids that require them, to ones that feature a raised lip you can drink from.

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The company previously announced a $10 million effort to develop and introduce a "fully recyclable and compostable hot cup", according to the news release.

Frappuccino drinks will still be served with dome lids, but with straws made from paper or compostable plastic.

"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. Several other US cities have already implemented similar bans, or have proposed legislation in the works. McDonald's said earlier this year that it would stop using plastic straws at all of its stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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Local governments have also been looking at the issue. Phased rollouts within the United States and Canada will then follow.