Plastic straws, one of the major contributors to plastic waste, is about to become a thing of the past for Starbucks. The coffee shop chain plans to phase out single-use straws from all of its branches worldwide.
"Not using a straw is the best thing we can do for the environment," Colleen Chapman, vice-president of Starbucks' global social impact, said in a statement via BBC. According to Chapman, this decision was brought about by clamor from customers, as well as some of their partners and groups like the World Wildlife Fund.
This move to move on from disposable plastic straws come in the wake of Seattle banning straws and plastic utensils throughout all the establishments in the city, as well as McDonald's pledge to get rid of straws in its branches in Europe.
Oakland, Berkeley, California and other cities in the U.S. have likewise banned the use of plastic straws after Seattle's initiative.
Instead of straws, Starbucks has introduced a new plastic lid design that adds a raised lip to drink from, not far off from the sippy cups meant for young children, as CNN noted. While this design works well with hot or cold coffee, beverages topped with whipped cream like Frappucinos will still be served with dome lids meant for straws.
In this case, Starbucks will still provide straws. These will be made from paper or compostable plastic, and will also be provided for coffee drinkers who prefer them to the sippy cups.
The ban has been called a "shining example" in the ongoing effort to curb plastic pollution in the oceans, according to Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program.
"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we cannot afford to let industry sit on the sidelines," he said.