Starbucks: No more plastic straws

A patron holds an iced beverage at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena

Starbucks, while not under similar pressure on straws specifically, pulled the trigger to eliminate plastic straws across the board in response to a plastic ban in Seattle (Starbucks' home base).

Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program was quoted as saying in a Starbucks blogpost: "Starbucks' decision to phase out single-use plastic straws is a shining example of the important role that companies can play in stemming the tide of ocean plastic".

Starbucks already is offering the new lids in some Spokane stores, including a downtown location at Main Avenue and Post Street. Starbucks has actually been using the lid design for their nitro cold brew coffee already and will start rolling them out with more drinks at stores in Seattle and Canada first.

The straws made from paper or compostable plastic will be available to customers by request and eventually become standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso drinks, Starbucks said in a news release.

McDonald's Corp. said in June it will start rolling out paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with plans to phase out the plastic variety in all 1,361 locations there in 2019. A larger-scale rollout will begin in North America this fall and in Europe and the United Kingdom next year.

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Berks County residents grabbing a morning cup of iced coffee at Starbucks locations may soon notice a lack of plastic straws with their favorite drinks.

Environmental activists have been campaigning for the move for some time due to the negative impacts unrecyclable plastic straws have as waste in the world's oceans, often considerably harming marine life. The move will affect around 5,000 restaurants in requiring alternative straw options and more strawless lids.

Other cities, like Fort Meyers, have banned plastic straws as well. For those customers who insist on straws, the company will offer eco-friendly versions made of paper or compostable plastic.

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.

While the lids are still made of plastic, the java corporation said they are made of recyclable materials. Additionally, they encourage customers to use reusable tumblers.

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