Starbucks is putting the kibosh on plastic straws. By 2020, the world’s most popular coffee chain plans to eliminate more than one billion straws a year – an important move for reducing plastic waste and making a dent in one of the biggest man-made epidemics.
So what will they replace the straws with?
Starbucks plans to use recyclable and straw-less lids on its iced drinks. The only exception will be the Frappuccino, which will feature a straw made from paper or compostable plastic.
It’s become obvious that there’s a serious plastic waste epidemic across the globe. According to the nonprofit Eco-Cycle, more than 500 million disposable plastic straws are used per day. They’re made from recyclable plastic, but still… Most recyclers won’t accept them.
Plastic straws in particular have gotten a pretty huge backlash in the past couple of years. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of their effect on the environment. And that consciousness is helping them influence brands to make new decisions. Because they’re so small and easy to toss, they end up in the garbage, and then end up pollution the ocean.
Starbucks Is One of First Major Retailers to Ban Plastic Straws
According to plastic pollutions researcher Sam Athey, it takes 200 years for polypropylene plastic to break down. While it’s breaking down, it becomes brittle and breaks into tiny pieces called ‘microplastics.’ Those pieces can then be ingested by ocean organisms.
And while no one knows for sure how much plastic ends up in the ocean, the Ocean Conservancy says that plastic straws are one of the most commonly found items on beaches. Volunteers there have picked up over 8 million straws and stirrers from both beaches.
More and more people are working to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste these days. Nonprofits and lawmakers have come together to launch campaigns that make promote awareness of the issue. Meanwhile, a Kickstarter campaign based out of LA has raised $1.9 million to develop their innovation – “the world’s first collapsible reusable straw.”
And cities across the country are putting new laws into effect. This month, Seattle (Starbucks’ home city) banned single-use plastic straws. Several cities in both Florida and California have at least partially banned them. New York has recently seen proposal to ban single-use plastic bags throughout the state, and to make plastic straws illegal at NYC restaurants.
Data Source: nytimes.com