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Huge news coming from the cafe sector: Starbucks has announced plans to ban plastic straws in all stores by 2020.

The corporate policy will result in Starbucks phasing out single-use plastic straws in 28,000 stores throughout the world. It is estimated that, as a result of the policy, 1bn straws will no longer go to waste each year.

The move, however, is not without controversy. In replace of the straws, Starbucks will instead use plastic lids, which, some have argued, defeats the purpose of ditching the single-use straws in the first place. But as some other customers have commented, despite skepticism about how many of the cups and lids will still likely end up in landfill, it is progress considering they are recyclable. It is now up to the consumer to recycle (see a recent blog in Scientific American about whether recycling is enough).

Unlike cups or lids, recycling straws just isn’t possible because of their weight and size, despite the very best intentions.— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) July 9, 2018

Meanwhile, other issues also need consideration, as some disabled people require the use of straws to eat and drink. In response, Starbucks has offered further feedback via their Twitter:

We will still offer a straw option in stores, made of an alternative material such as paper or compostable plastic. Customers will be able to request this straw if they prefer or need one, and it will come standard with Frappuccino blended beverages.— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) July 9, 2018

The lid that is replacing the straws is also made of plastic, but its polypropylene content can be widely recycled. “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. “Starbucks is finally drawing a line in the sand and creating a mold for other large brands to follow. We are raising the water line for what’s acceptable and inspiring our peers to follow suit.”

More here.

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