Starbucks says it will become the largest food and beverage retailer to commit to eliminating plastic straws, a change it says it will complete by 2020. Instead, Starbucks announced in a press release, it will start using "strawless lids" and straws made from "alternative materials", such as paper or "compostable plastic".
"By nature, the straw isn't recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible", said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks.
The no-straw movement, which had already been brewing in certain communities and beach towns, gained mainstream traction three years ago after a video showing a sea turtle with a plastic straw wedged in its nose went viral.
Other companies have also been ditching plastic straws in recent months. Seattle is believed to be the first major USA city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service, according to the Seattle Public Utilities.
Starbucks is the latest brand to jump on board with the idea of becoming more environmentally friendly. 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.
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.
Customers in Seattle and Vancouver, Canada, will be the first to see the new lids beginning this fall, with phased rollouts within the United States and Canada in 2019.