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

Enlarge ImageIt's the lid heard around the world.                  Starbucks

Starbucks predicts that it will eliminate more than 1 billion straws yearly.

Starbucks said that it is the largest food and beverage retailer to have promised to get rid of plastic straws.

Straws are a small contributor to the overall plastic problem, but they are an easy target since most people don't require a straw to consume a beverage.

The announcement comes after Seattle, Starbucks' home market, banned restaurants from using plastic straws and utensils on July 1. Similar proposals are being considered in places like NY and San Francisco.

The company is the latest to announce a ban on the straws as global awareness of ocean pollution and harm to marine life increases. In February, Dunkin' Donuts said that it would eliminate polystyrene foam cups from its stores by 2020.


McDonald's recently said it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year, and test alternatives to plastic straws in some US locations.

The announcement from McDonald's followed an April proposal by the United Kingdom government to ban plastic straws in the country. The burger chain said this year that it would use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he said in a statement.

Starbucks said that it will begin using the strawless alternatives in Seattle and Vancouver stores by this fall, and expand to the USA and Canada, followed by other global locations, in fiscal year 2019.

A global rollout of the strawless lid will begin in Europe, starting with select stores in France and the Netherlands.

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