Life Eat & Drink Starbucks to ban plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks to ban plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks plastic straws
Starbucks hands out one billion straws worldwide each year. Photo: Getty
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Coffee giant Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws from all of its locations within two years, citing the environmental threat to oceans.

The company says it will phase out single-use straws from its more than 28,000 locations worldwide by 2020, cutting out an estimated one billion straws each year.

Starbucks will replace the single-use plastic straws with straws made from biodegradable materials like paper and specially designed lids.

Starbucks, which generated $US22.4 billion ($30 billion) in annual revenue last year, becomes the largest food and beverage company to do so as calls to cut waste globally grow louder.

Plastic straws have become one of the biggest targets.

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

A global rollout of the strawless lids will follow, beginning in Europe where the ban will be used in select stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the United Kingdom.

Starbucks plastic straws
Straws make up about 4 percent of the plastic trash by piece, but far less by weight. Photo: Getty

Starbucks global social impact vice president Colleen Chapman said the decision was motivated by requests from customers and partners.

“Not using a straw is the best thing we can do for the environment,” Ms Chapman said in a statement.

Starbucks’ announcement included statements from the World Wildlife Fund and the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas, praising the move.

Plastic straws has garnered widespread concern from environmentalists in recent years, after a 2015 viral video showed rescuers removing a plastic straw from an endangered sea turtle’s nose.

The straw-specific concern also comes as social media movements addressing plastic pollution rise in popularity.

The hashtag #StopSucking has received support from celebrities including American astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Chelsea Clinton, Russell Crowe, Tom Brady, Ellen Pompeo and Adrian Grenier, pledging to“just say no” when handed a plastic straw.

The move comes as Australians come to grips with supermarkets Woolworths and Coles and other companies enforcing a ban on single-use plastic bags to reduce waste.

In the US, more than 500 million straws are used everyday while Australians used close to 10 million a day.

According to industrial ecologist Dr Roland Geyer, the total volume of all plastic ever produced at 8.3 billion tonnes, he published in the journal Science Advances last year.

Of this 8.3 billion tonnes, 6.3 billion tonnes are now waste, with 79 per cent of it accumulating in landfills or the natural environment.

Plastic straws take up to 200 years to decompose, and are one of the most common items found among ocean debris, Ocean Conservancy says.

An estimated 10 million tonnes of plastic currently ends up in oceans every year.

-with AAP