Starbucks recently announced that they are in the process of completely getting rid of plastic straws by 2020. They announced this shortly after the banning of plastic drinking straws and utensils in their hometown of Seattle. Instead of plastic straws, Starbucks will use straws made from biodegradable materials, such as paper, in addition to their new strawless lids, which are currently available at 8,000 stores in the United States and Canada. Starbucks has a mission to eliminate as much waste as they can in an effort to protect the environment.
Photo: Meghan Rodgers on Unsplash
Starbucks believes that the elimination of plastic straws by 2020 will result in more than 1 billion fewer plastic straws being used each year. Although their straws are recyclable, Starbucks has noticed that their straws still end up in landfills and waterways due to their small, lightweight size. Starbucks is clearly committed to reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans.
For those of you who don’t know, the increasing use of plastic straws has been detrimental to our environment, as they take about 200 years to break down. Each year, these straws make up 2,000 of the 9 million tons of plastic waste that end up in our waters. As a result, these plastic straws make their way into our marine ecosystems, hurting our marine animals and plants. Many straws, for example, have ended up in the nostrils of sea turtles.
While Starbucks knows that eliminating plastic straws won’t save the environment entirely, they do know that it will help our planet to some extent. It is estimated that a total of 175 million straws are used and thrown away every day in the United States. With Starbucks making this huge announcement, they are initiating the conversation about how others can also work to save the environment.
However, Starbucks did receive backlash from disability rights groups after making this announcement. Those with certain disabilities rely on plastic straws to eat, drink, and live their daily lives. For many individuals, these plastic straws are a necessity, so getting rid of them will only make it harder for them perform daily tasks such as eating. These plastic straws are flexible and durable enough to help them drink liquids, no matter the temperature. Although Starbucks is very committed to taking care of the environment, they know their customers come first. They are aware that eliminating these plastic straws will affect many people with disabilities, and because of this, they released a statement saying they will still continue to offer straws to customers who need them.
With both the environment and disability rights in mind, Starbucks has mentioned that they are committed to finding plastic straw alternatives. They will be doing extensive research to find the best alternatives in order to keep their customers happy while protecting the environment.
My name is Linda Tran. I'm 24 years old from Boston and I'm majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Social Media at the Southern New Hampshire University. A fun fact about me is that I learned coding and HTML at the age of 11.