Starbucks has announced that they will begin phasing out their plastic straws by 2020 in their bid to help the environment.
As reported by The New York Times, the coffee giant announced on Monday that they plan to eliminate all single-use plastic straws at all of its 28 000 locations around the world. In place of those, Starbucks will introduce new recyclable strawless lids and straws made of materials such as paper. Paper straws, in particular, would be better than their plastic counterparts due to how easily they compost.
This news comes after yet another push by environmental activists for companies to eliminate any and all plastic in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives. In addition, Seattle, Washington—the city where Starbucks was founded—announced a new ban on plastic-made items last week. This makes Seattle the first large city to implement such a ban. So it's not hard to understand why Starbucks felt that it was necessary to make such an announcement.
While plastic straws are not the only plastic item to exist, it's been said that they are more difficult to recycle than other plastic items due to their size. It also doesn't help that plastic, in general, continues to contaminate our environment. National Geographic reported earlier this year that over 5 trillion plastic items (including straws) are currently in the ocean. So it's clear that actions need to be taken to help decrease this dramatically.
While Starbucks is not the only company to make such an announcement this year—including McDonald's and Evian, just to name a couple—it still matters due to the company's size and prominence. The fact that there's also been public support from both activist groups and consumers due to this move means that this will put Starbucks in a more positive light. This could very well result in higher profits because consumers who refused to purchase from the company because of its plastic products may change their mind. While the move to plastic-free straws will be slow moving, the fact that it's even happening is good news- not just for Starbucks, but for our environment.
Perhaps it will inspire more companies to make the same change. That will be evident as time goes on, especially as the plastic-free movement continues to grow.