Starbucks has announced that it will be phasing out plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020 — eliminating more than 1 billion straws from use every year.
The rollout will reportedly begin this fall, starting with stores in Vancouver and Seattle, according to CNN. The Wall Street Journal said the ban will be rolled out in more than 8,000 stores in the United States and Canada.
It’s a “significant milestone” in Starbucks’ sustainability efforts, according to CEO Kevin Johnson, who said the chain is the largest food and drinks retailer to announce the ban.
It means that, over the next couple of years, instead of the plastic drink lids most customers are used to — which require a straw — customers will instead be seeing a new lid design that has a raised lip to drink from.
Frappucino fans will reportedly still get their drinks with the raised dome lid, but straws will instead be made from paper or compostable plastic.
If you prefer to use a straw for another drink, you will reportedly be able to request the new eco-friendly version.
It’s the latest in a strong of announcements to ban single-use plastics — most of which have focused on eliminating plastic straws, cutlery, and bags.
Cities and companies around the world have been cracking down on problematic plastics, which are having a devastating impact on our marine environment.
Malibu, Seattle, Delhi, Mumbai, Montreal, Hamburg, and New York are among the cities that are clamping down on plastic — along with more nationwide action from Kenya, Vanuatu, the UK, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Australia, Canada, France, Morocco, and Rwanda.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s announced in June it will be banning plastic straws in all of its 1,361 outlets in the UK and Ireland, following a successful trial, and eliminating more than 650 million straws every year.
But activists, including Welsh Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, have warned that paper straws and other eco-friendly alternatives aren’t always suitable for people with disabilities. Grey-Thompson has said that while plastic straws help many people drink independently, paper or glass alternatives aren’t always safe or suitable.