Starbucks plan to remove plastic straws from their chain by 2020. As told by the BBC, Starbucks’ plan is to cut an estimated 1 billion straws a year from their stores and replace them with plastic lids designed to be used either without a straw or with non-plastic straws. Requests from partners and customers led to the giant coffee shop chain choosing to remove plastic straws from their inventory.
“Not using a straw is the best thing we can do for the environment.” said Colleen Chapman, vice-president of Starbucks’ global social impact.
Though some consumers have criticised the use of plastic lids – “*Gets rid of plastic straw *Replaced with Large plastic sipping lid,” – Starbucks’ announcement to phase out plastic straws was backed by supportive statements from the likes of the Ocean Conservancy Trash Free Seas programme and the World Wildlife Fund. Ocean Conservancy’s Nicholas Mallos said that Starbucks’ ban was “a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic.”
Starbucks have also defended their decision to replace plastic straws with plastic lids, posting on twitter that “Unlike cups or lids, recycling straws just isn’t possible because of their weight and size, despite the very best intentions”. They go on to inform their customer base that they will offer straws made out of “an alternative material such as paper or compostable plastic. Customers will be able to request this straw if they prefer or need one, and it will come standard with Frappuccino blended beverages.”
Concern for the impact of straws on marine life gained widespread support when a 2015 video of rescuers removing a plastic straw from an endangered sea turtle’s nose went viral.
Starbucks is just one of many companies, to have made a conscious effort to curb the danger plastic presents to marine life. American Airlines, Seaworld Entertainment and Royal Caribbean have also removed plastic straws from their inventory.
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