Starbucks to stop using plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks has become the latest company to ditch plastic straws

The company has already designed and developed a strawless lid that it expects to become a standard for its iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages.

Starbucks, which doles out more than 1 billion straws a year, says it will phase out single-use plastic straws from its stores by 2020.

Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and pose a danger to marine life.

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

The announcement from McDonald's followed an April proposal by the United Kingdom government to ban plastic straws in the country.

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

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

"For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways", Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

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

Starbucks said more markets will follow until the chain meets its goal.

Other cities, like Fort Meyers, have banned plastic straws. 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.

Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program, called Starbucks' decision a "shining example" of how companies can help fight ocean pollution.

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