Starbucks to ditch single-use plastic straws by 2020

Come 2020, you won’t be sipping your Starbucks iced coffee with a straw.

The coffee giant announced Monday that it would eliminate single-use plastic straws from all of its cafes globally within the next two years. Instead, Starbucks will offer recyclable strawless lids and alternative-material straws, like paper or compostable plastic.

The company already uses plastic lids nationally for some of its drinks like nitro cold brew and any beverages topped with cold foam.

Starbucks said customers in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to see these changes roll out in the fall.

On July 1, Seattle became the first U.S. city to ban plastic straws, utensils and cocktail picks. Next year, a ban on plastic straws and stirrers will go into effect in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Cold beverages currently account for more than 50 percent of Starbucks’ beverage sales, which is part of the reason the company goes through more than a billion plastic straws each year at its more than 28,000 stores.

Customers have been calling on restaurants like Starbucks and McDonald’s to ditch single-use plastic items like straws, cups and bags, but it’s not always an easy fix. Many of these chains have thousands of locations and serve millions of customers daily, making it difficult to completely eliminate these nonrecyclable items quickly or without massive costs.

“There isn’t currently a viable alternative that’s nonplastic at the moment, at the scale we need,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said last month. But the company is testing alternatives, including compostable straws.

McDonald’s also is adhering to the goals set by the Paris accord on climate change and seeking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent by 2030.

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