Starbucks to Ban Plastic Straws
On Monday, one of the biggest coffee retailers announced its plan to eliminate plastic straws by 2020. With 28,000 stores worldwide, the ban of plastic straws in these franchises would eliminate more than 1 billion straws.
Over 500 million straws are used every single day in the United States alone. The issue with these thin, flexible plastic tubes is their ability to get lost in a mechanical sorter, meaning that even if they are made of recyclable plastic, they typically won't make it to a recycling facilitation, and furthermore, many recycling facilities won't accept them. This means that millions of straws end up in the ocean, which is particularly harmful because plastic cannot break down, so fish and other small organisms swallow pieces of the plastic that can hurt or kill them.
The scariest part is the rate at which we dump plastic into the ocean. If we continue to use plastic products like straws, cups, bags, etc., there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by the year 2050. Starbucks' plan to ban plastic straws is a great start; with such a large franchise, this will definitely remove a lot of mindless plastic consumption, however, the next step is banning all single use plastic products!
What will the straw alternative be? Many are concerned that paper straws will be the replacement, which are known for being flimsy and pretty awful at their job. But fear not: Starbucks plans to have a straw-less lid. What this exactly entails, we will soon find out. However, if you want to be extra sustainable, bring your own cup and metal straw and reduce your single plastic consumption entirely! And, you get .10 off your drink when you bring a personal mug too!