Starbucks to ditch plastic straws globally by 2020

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This would apply to its more than 28,000 company operated and licensed stores, the coffee giant announced on Monday (Jul 9). "Metal straws can be unsafe for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions".

Starbucks uses more than a billion plastic straws a year. 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. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.

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Other cities, like Fort Meyers, have banned plastic straws as well. Similar proposals are being considered in places like NY and San Francisco.

A number of local governments have recently passed legislation restricting the use and distribution of plastic straws.

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Starbucks is among several major companies that have announced measures to cut plastic waste. In February, Dunkin' Donuts said that it would eliminate polystyrene foam cups from its stores by 2020.

The company said in a release that paper or compostable straws will be available for customers upon request, and will be served with their Frappuccino blended drinks. McDonald's said earlier this year that it would stop using plastic straws at all of its stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The burger chain said this year that it would use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025.

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Wes Knopp, the owner of Lone Light Coffee, said, "I think a majority of people would not get a plastic straw if they weren't provided with one automatically". Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the almost 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in waters around the globe each year.

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