Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in all stores by 2020

Plastics and other debris line an estuary in Kentucky

The food and beverage retailer said Monday that it would switch to a strawless lid or alternative-material straw in place of plastic straws.

Some Starbucks drinks, like cold brew with cold foam, are already served in cups with strawless lids.

Starbuckshadalready committed $10 million to help develop recyclable, compostable cups for hot drinks.

Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws from its stores globally by 2020, in a nod to the growing push for businesses to be more environmentally friendly.

In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts.

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This follows an announcement by McDonald's that 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. "Metal straws can be unsafe for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions".

Starbucks will start the transition away from plastic straws in Seattle and in Vancouver in the fall, before launching a phased rollout in the U.S.in its fiscal 2019. Walt Disney World has banned plastic straws at some of its theme parks, while the Smithsonian Institution has taken steps to eliminate them from its museums.

The announcement from McDonald's followed an April proposal by the United Kingdom government to ban plastic straws in the country.

Local governments have also been looking at the issue.

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 US locations. Starbucks's hometown of Seattle, for example, banned plastic straws and utensils beginning this month, while the California cities of Davis and San Luis Obispo prohibit restaurants from handing out plastic straws unless a customer requests one. Straws add up to only about 2,000 tons of the almost 9m tons of plastic waste that hits waters each year.

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