by Cayce McCarthy. Arts and Entertainment blogger.
Starbucks Seattle banned the use of all plastic straws days ago, but plan to ban to implement the rule, globally, by 2020 in order to help cut down waste. On average a person uses 1.6 straws a day and more than half a million end up dumped in the ocean. In fact, according to Ocean Conservancy Inc. straws are on the list of top ten items they clean up at the beach. Straws hurt the environment by harming wildlife like albatross, fish, and sea turtles who accidentally ingest them. There was even a video released a few years ago of a poor sea turtle that had a straw stuck up its nose while boaters tried to pull it out, which lead to the anti-straw movement.
Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle, Washington has already banned straws and will continue to get rid of straws in over 28,000 locations. This is estimated to cut out about 1bn (billon) straws each year. Starbucks’ alternative is a recyclable lid that acts like a sippy cup lid. This lid is already being used in some stores and will be used for all drinks except Frappuccinos which will have a recyclable straw. Other places that are considering plastic straw bans include Portland, New York City, and California. This ban makes Starbucks the biggest food and drinks company to eliminate plastic straws.
According to the source Now This, McDonald’s will remove straws in the U.K. and Ireland by 2019. This is good news to hear, however, the lid that’s replacing the straws are still plastic. Plastic is recyclable, but out of all 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that has been produced only 6.3 billion metric tons have turned to waste while 79% end up in landfills or the natural environment. Starbucks has argued through Twitter that the lids will be easier to recycle because of their size but according to the numbers above that’s hard to believe. The straws being used in the Fraps will be paper or bio degradable plastic straws.
This is a step in the right direction however, it still has its flaws. The lid should be made of an easier recyclable material such as paper/cardboard. Perhaps Starbucks can invest in the companies that are creating thick leaf utensils, bamboo utensils, metal straws, or even try one restaurant’s pasta straws that has a noodle act as a straw. This noodle straw is easily made, composts easily, and doesn’t break down in the drink or change the drink’s flavor. Hopefully, other companies will get on board with the straw ban and move forward to ban all plastic from eating utensils, cups, plates, and the dreaded plastic bag.