Starbucks will stop handing out plastic straws by 2020

The last straw? Starbucks pledges to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020

Viral videos - including one depicting researchers extracting a plastic straw from a sea turtle's bleeding nostril - is prompting some companies and municipalities to find ocean-friendlier alternatives.

Starbucks is going strawless.

Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., customers will first see the new lids replace straws as the company on-boards the product with more stores through 2020.

For users who still want their drinks with a straw, the company said paper or biodegradable plastic will be available by request.

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Starbucks has announced that it will stop handing out single-use plastic straws at its 28,000 stores around the world.

Kevin Johnson, the president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, explained that the decision to eliminate non-recyclable plastic straws from the worldwide chain is monumental.

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.

This fall, Starbucks is offering something new to its Vancouver customers.

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"*Gets rid of plastic straw *Replaced with large plastic sipping lid", wrote one Twitter user.

The advocacy group 5 Gyres notes that the top five biggest sources of single-use plastic are plastic bags, water bottles, to-go containers, to-go cups and straws. At the time, Starbucks wavered on the proposal; a company spokesperson told Mic that Starbucks would be developing a "recyclable and compostable cup solution", but wouldn't reveal specifically its plans for straws. Use #GeniusKitchen to let us know what you're sharing! The transition will be complete in 2019, the company said. In May, the European Union also suggested a ban on some plastic items, including straws.

A number of local governments have pushed to limit the use of plastic straws by passing restrictive legislation. "Starbucks taught the world how to drink coffee, and I believe that this commitment will help teach the world how to embrace sustainable business practices - starting with the plastic straw", said Grenier. "With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he continued. "As we partner with Starbucks in waste reduction initiatives. we hope others will follow in their footsteps".

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