>> Starbucks on Monday said it will begin phasing out the use of plastic straws at all its locations by 2020, a big victory for environmentalists who campaigned to convince the coffee chain to abandon plastic utensils. In their place, alternative material straws and new recyclable strawless lids that have been compared to adult sippy cups.
Last month, McDonald's announced plans to transition to paper straws at its UK and Ireland restaurants by 2019, though a proposal to investigate the impact of plastic straws at all its restaurants was shot down by shareholders in May. The UN Environment Program estimates that some 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year.
The equivalent of dumping a garbage truck full of plastic every minute killing birds and marine life in the process. Plastic straws represent a comparatively small amount of all plastic waste but they are more difficult to recycle than other plastic items. Starbucks said the changes will help eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws a year.
In a statement on Monday, CEO Kevin Johnson said, quote, 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.