Starbucks announced Monday it will offer recyclable strawless lids and eco-friendly straws in its more than 28,000 stores beginning this fall. A larger-scale rollout will begin in North America this fall and in Europe and the United Kingdom next year.
"There are several of these single-use items the public is realising, hey, we don't actually need these", said Denise Hardesty, a scientist with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation who studies plastic pollution.
Today the company announced that it is getting rid of plastic straws everywhere by a certain date.
In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts. Other companies and consumers are following the trend towards becoming more environmentally conscious.
Earlier this year, Starbucks committed $10 million over three years to help find an alternative to its ubiquitous hot beverage cups - its third such attempt in a decade - which are complicated to recycle due to their plastic liner.
Other cities, like Fort Meyers, have banned plastic straws as well. "By nature, the straw isn't recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible", said Starbucks' director of packaging sourcing Chris Milne. Although the fast food chain later announced a campaign to replace plastic straws with paper ones in the United Kingdom and select markets in Asia, its top management decided that expanding the change to its over 140,000 locations in the US would be too costly.
"Basically (for) the small drink straws, there's not an easy way to recycle them", she said.
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