The company said it is the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a commitment-a decision that will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from its stores. The company said that more than half of its beverage sales come from cold drinks, which typically come with a plastic straw.
Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and pose a danger to marine life. "Metal straws can be risky for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions". Starbucks announced it plans on removing plastic straws from its 28,000 stores by 2020.
The company said it will make a strawless lid available at 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada for certain drinks.
A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws.
Starbuckshadalready committed $10 million to help develop recyclable, compostable cups for hot drinks.
Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and CEO, called the move a "significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways". As Fast Company reported, plastic straws have been banned or are planned to be banned by Alaska Airlines and McDonald's U.K., as well as in Vancouver, the U.K., Taiwan, Seattle, Miami Beach, and in California cities such as Oakland and Berkeley, to name a few. Walt Disney World has banned plastic straws at some of its theme parks, while the Smithsonian Institution has taken steps to eliminate them from its museums.
"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he said in a statement.