Java giant Starbucks is the latest in a growing number of retailers working toward the elimination of single-use plastic straws. The movement began after the posting of a YouTube video* in August 0f 2015 that featured marine biologists painstakingly removing a straw from the nose of a sea turtle. (*Note: Please be advised that this video is disturbing.) The heart-wrenching process struck an emotional chord with the public and the graphic video went viral with more than 30 million views. The Ocean Conservancy stated that volunteers have picked up over 9 million straws and stirrers from beaches and waterways over the past 30 years. Sadly they continue to make their way into the ocean, posing a threat to a variety of sea life.
“In the United States alone, an estimated more than 500 million disposable plastic straws are used every day, according to Eco-Cycle, a nonprofit recycling organization. Although plastic straws are made from polypropylene, a recyclable plastic, most recyclers won’t accept them.” – Source: The New York Times
The good news is that the banning of single-use plastic straws has been gaining traction through the efforts of non-profits, lawmakers and online campaigns like Stop Sucking and the Last Plastic Straw. Seattle, Starbucks headquarters, is the first major US city to implement the ban. Having handed out more than one billion straws per year, the coffee colossus plans to eliminate their use globally by 2020. New cold-cup lids have already made appearances in over 8,000 stores across the US and Canada.
— Starbucks News (@StarbucksNews) July 9, 2018
“By nature, the straw isn’t recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible,” Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks, said in a statement.” – Source: The New York Times
There is still much work to be done and it’s nice to see that Starbucks is not alone in taking steps to protect our sea-faring friends. Big names like McDonald’s, Walt Disney, The Smithsonian Institution and Hyatt Hotels are all looking to adopt alternatives such as straws made of paper, bamboo, steel… even Twizzlers! The best solution though? Don’t suck! Let’s ALL pitch in, do our part and put the pucker away. 😉
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