Starbucks ditching plastic straws out of environmental concerns

The announcement comes a week after Seattle, where the coffee house is headquartered, became one of the first high-profile cities in the U.S.to ban straws.

The company said it is the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a commitment-a decision that will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from its stores.

By 2020, consumers will no longer be able to get single-use plastic straws at all Starbucks stores globally.

The company said it will make a strawless lid available at 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada for certain drinks.

A global rollout of the strawless lids will follow, beginning in Europe where they will be used in selected stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the United Kingdom.

The company has already designed and developed a strawless lid that it expects to become a standard for its iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages.

Starbucks announced it plans on removing plastic straws from its 28,000 stores by 2020.

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In a statement, CEO Kevin Johnson called the move away from plastic straws a "significant milestone" in the company's sustainability efforts. These new straws will also be made available upon request to customers who prefer or need a straw, the company said.

The UK government said that 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die each year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste. Similar proposals are being considered in places like NY and San Francisco.

Engineers successfully developed a "cleaner, less-ridged version of a hot cup lid", and decided to make it the standard for all iced drinks except the Frappuccino, totally phasing out straws by the year 2020.

A number of restaurants and private establishments also have taken measures to curb their use of plastic straws.

An online petition calling on Starbucks to say goodbye to plastic straws has close to 150,000 signatures.

Starting Tuesday July 10, Starbucks will also add two new permanent additions to its cold coffee menu in the USA and Canada: Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew, featuring a strawless lid; and Iced Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte, which consists of vanilla bean and coconutmilk shaken with ice, with shots of Starbucks signature espresso poured on top.

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