The last straw? Starbucks pledges to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020

Starbucks citing ocean threat is ditching plastic straws

Coffee giant Starbucks said Monday it will eliminate plastic drinking straws over the next two years and replace them with a specially-designed lid for cold drinks.

The brewer is phasing out plastic, one-time-use straws, because of material waste and danger to aquatic sea life they can cause.

Starbucks says it will become the largest food and beverage retailer to commit to eliminating plastic straws, a change it says it will complete by 2020.

"By nature, the straw isn't recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible", said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks. Starbucks's hometown of Seattle, for example, banned plastic straws and utensils beginning this month, while the California cities of Davis and San Luis Obispo prohibit restaurants from handing out plastic straws unless a customer requests one.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws.

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Starbucks is the latest brand to jump on board with the idea of becoming more environmentally friendly.

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

The strawless lids will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver Starbucks this fall, with phased rollouts within the U.S. and Canada to follow next year.

"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", said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, in a press release.

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