Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Starbucks, Citing Ocean Threat, Is Ditching Plastic Straws from All Locations

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Starbucks, Citing Ocean Threat, Is Ditching Plastic Straws from All Locations

Article excerpt

Starbucks is ditching plastic straws

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Vancouver Starbucks locations will be the first in Canada to serve drinks without plastic straws as it works to eliminate the product from all its stores by 2020, the company announced Monday.

The coffee chain is the latest big company to acknowledge the environmental threat plastic straws pose and promise to implement an alternative in the face of mounting public pressure.

There's been a tipping point in the public's awareness that plastic is a global problem, said environmental lawyer David Boyd.

A video showing a turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose received more than 30 million views on YouTube, for example, said Boyd, who also teaches at the University of British Columbia.

Companies like Starbucks are responding to that surge in environmental concern.

Starbucks will make a strawless lid or straws made from alternative materials, like paper of compostable plastic, available at its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020. It has created a strawless lid that will be standard for its iced coffee, tea and espresso drinks.

"This is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways," CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

The strawless lid is currently available in more than 8,000 Canadian and U.S. locations for some beverages.

The Seattle-based company will implement the lids for all cold, non-blended drinks first at its hometown and Vancouver locations this fall, with phased rollouts within the U.S. and Canada to follow next year. A global rollout of the strawless lids will follow, beginning in Europe where the will be used in select stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the United Kingdom.

It's the largest food and beverage company to do so as calls to cut waste globally grow louder and plastic straws have become one of the most prominent targets.

"I think that straws are just widely seen as kind of the low-hanging fruit," said Boyd.

Some cities, including Seattle and Fort Myers Beach in Florida, have banned plastic straws. Vancouver will prohibit plastic straws as well as some other items by June 1, 2019 as part of the Zero Waste 2040 Strategy. …

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