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Vancouver test market as Starbucks rolls out options to banish plastics

11 July 2018

Ikea recently announced it would eliminate single-use plastic products from its shelves by 2020, including straws.

Starbucks said it anticipates the move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from its stores.

Starbucks' new iced coffee and tea beverages are displayed during a promotion July 2, 2003 outside a Starbucks coffee shop at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

Starbucks has pledged to rid its more than 28,000 locations of plastic straws by 2020 in a bid to become more eco-friendly. Starbucks will begin its transition into this change starting in the fall, with stores in Seattle, Vancouver, and Canada releasing the raised lid cups instead of using plastic straws.

Seattle and Vancouver will be the first cities to see the permanent change this fall, with the rest of the USA and Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to follow. Here's hoping that other major coffee retailers and cafes also take a leaf out of Starbucks' book and make the transition from plastic packaging to more recyclable material.

In May, Alaska Airlines said travelers on its flights would be served drinks with compostable versions of stir straws and citrus picks: white birch for coffee and bamboo for citrus sticks.

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The single-use plastic problem gained attention in January, when lifestyle guru Martha Stewart announced her #ChangeTheDay campaign, focusing on one environmentally-friendly initiative each month. Thankfully, the company has also already committed $10 million to help develop hot drink cups that will be recyclable and compostable. "With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", he continued. It also plans to serve more of its drinks in cups with specially designed lids, which don't need straws.

According to The Guardian, straws add around 2,000 tonnes of waste per year and make up around 4% of the plastic waste now in the ocean.

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

The custom lids will also be introduced in the United Kingdom, just as the market expands its £0.05 (US$0.07) paper cup charge to 950 stores.

Rival burger chain A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. has said it will eliminate all plastic straws from its restaurants by the end of this year.

Vancouver test market as Starbucks rolls out options to banish plastics