Starbucks will rid stores of plastic straws, go with 'strawless lids' instead

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

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

Alexander said in a statement: "I am really excited to have developed something that can be part of this big transformation of going strawless." .

In order to become more sustainable than ever, Starbucks will implement the lids for iced drinks across all of its stores.

Customers will instead be given plastic lids designed for use without a straw or with non-plastic straws.

Plastic straws will be phased out by 2020.

According to the Associated Press, scientists estimate 2,000 tons of straws end up in the ocean every year, posing a significant danger to marine life.

Engineers successfully developed a "cleaner, less-ridged version of a hot cup lid", and chose to make it the standard for all iced drinks except the Frappuccino, totally phasing out straws by the year 2020. The rollout for the new adult "sippy cups" is expected this fall.

Adam Harris, a customer at the location Monday afternoon, said he agrees with the company's initiative to remove plastic straws from its stores. They'll also have alternative material straw options. Thankfully, the company has also already committed $10 million to help develop hot drink cups that will be recyclable and compostable.

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McDonald's also said this year that it would use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025.

Others voiced concern for those who rely on straws due to disability.

In an effort to reduce the use of avoidable plastic waste that inevitably ends up swirling around the world's oceans and washing up along its coastlines, the British government has pledged to ban the use of plastic drinking straws, plastic-stemmed cotton swabs and plastic drink stirrers.

Straws will soon be a thing of the past. Starbucks' customers use more than 1 billion straws a year.

Across the pond, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced a plan in April to prohibit the sale of plastic straws and drink stirrers, along with plastic-stemmed cotton buds. Phased rollouts within the USA and Canada will then follow.

Starbucks said that it is the largest food and beverage retailer to have promised to get rid of plastic straws.

Numerous advocacy groups, including Ocean Conservancy, welcomed the move. "With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines".

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