Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
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Starbucks is officially going strawless

Starbucks is officially going strawless

Hyatt Hotels said Monday it will stop offering plastic straws and picks to customers at its 700 hotels, unless they specifically ask for one.

In its place, Starbucks will cap cold beverages with a special lid that doesn't require the use of a straw.

The coffee company plans to offer a newly designed recyclable strawless lid at its 28,000 company operated and licensed locations, as well as straws made from alternative materials like compostable plastic and paper for customers who need or want a straw.

The strawless lids will be rolled out to Seattle and Vancouver this fall, and then slowly arrive across the USA and Canada in the 2019.

The decision was applauded by the World Wildlife Fund and the Ocean Conservancy following the press release issued by Starbucks announcing the move. The potential harm of ocean waste, particularly from plastic straws, drew widespread attention after a 2015 YouTube video of a sea turtle with a straw up its nostril went viral.

What do you think about companies banning plastic straws?

For customers like Sarah Martincic of Oley Township, the new strawless lids are a convenient solution to a pressing problem.

"Starbucks is finally drawing a line in the sand and creating a mould for other large brands to follow", said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing. It will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages.

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.

While Starbucks should be commended for taking the lead among global chain retailers of coffee, this is a mere baby step up a steep, tall mountain made of single-use waste. Those cups have a polyethylene lining that can contaminate the paper recycling stream. Starbucks said it has committed more than $10 million to this initiative so far.

McDonald's is investigating an alternative to straws and started a test in the United Kingdom last month.

In a move meant to cut back on waste, the global coffee giant said Monday that it would eliminate plastic straws from its more than 28,000 locations globally by 2020.

Also read: Why are 8,000 Starbucks locations closing this afternoon?

That compares to less than 20,000 in 2013, about 15,000 in 2007 and about 3,500 in 2000.

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