Starbucks to ban plastic straws within two years

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The strawless lids will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver Starbucks this fall, with phased rollouts within the US and Canada to follow next year.

The lids will become standard for all iced drinks except Frappuccino, which will still have a domed lid but be served with a paper straw or one made of compostable material.

An online petition calling on Starbucks to say goodbye to plastic straws has close to 150,000 signatures.

Customers who prefer or need a straw can request one, which will be made of alternative materials, the release said.

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Vancouver will be the first Canadian city to have the new lids, starting in the fall of this year.

While straws have become a high-profile issue, they make up only about 4% of the plastic trash by number of pieces, and far less by weight.

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".

The European Commission has proposed new rules that would ban the 10 biggest plastic pollutants found on Europe's beaches and in European waters, including plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, stir sticks and balloon sticks. Similar proposals are being considered in places like NY and San Francisco.

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Starbucks has announced it is eliminating plastic straws from its stores worldwide over the next two years, an environmental measure that it said will remove more than a billion plastic straws annually from its stores. McDonald's said earlier this year that it would stop using plastic straws at all of its stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

It comes a week after Starbucks's United States hometown of Seattle banned single-use plastic straws and utensils at businesses that sell food or drinks in the city.

"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.

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