Starbucks to Eliminate Plastic Straws by 2020

The company has already designed and developed a strawless lid that it expects to become a standard for its iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages.

Starbucks announced on Monday it plans to eliminate plastic straws from its 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020. "Metal straws can be risky for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions".

Viral videos - including one depicting researchers extracting a plastic straw from a sea turtle's bleeding nostril - is prompting some companies and municipalities to find ocean-friendlier alternatives.

For customers who prefer to have or need a straw, Starbucks said straws made of paper or compostable plastic will be available upon request - for their Frappuccino blended beverages. Plastic straws never completely decompose and can be harmful, even fatal, to animals that ingest them.

At Starbucks, executives said the efforts are part of a $10 million plan to develop cups and lids that are fully recyclable and compostable.

Starbucks is saying goodbye to its signature green plastic straws.

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A number of restaurants and private establishments also have taken measures to curb their use of plastic straws.

Last week, Seattle became the country's first major city to ban single use plastic straws.

Other cities, like Fort Meyers, have banned plastic straws as well. 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.

According to a release, Starbucks said the lid is now available in more than 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for select beverages, including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam.

"Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species", said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, US, in a statement.

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