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 USA locations. Starbucks announced it plans on removing plastic straws from its 28,000 stores by 2020.
A week after its hometown banned plastic drinking straws and utensils, the Seattle company said Monday that by 2020, it will be using straws made from biodegradable materials like paper and specially designed lids. The company said that more than half of its beverage sales come from cold drinks, which typically come with a plastic straw. Unlike straws, the new lid can be recycled, the company said.
The company said in a release that paper or compostable straws will be available for customers upon request, and will be served with their Frappuccino blended drinks.
Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and pose a danger to marine life. Plastic straws never completely decompose and can be harmful, even fatal, to animals that ingest them.
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Starbucks will begin rolling out the new lids for all drinks this fall, starting with stores in Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle. And it's a part of Starbucks' $10 million investment in creating recyclable and compostable cups around the world.
In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts.
McDonald's also 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 USA locations.
Local governments have also been looking at the issue. Straws add up to only about 2,000 tons of the almost 9m tons of plastic waste that hits waters each year.