clear
Wednesday September 19th, 2018 8:47PM

Starbucks, citing ocean threat, is ditching plastic straws

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws from all of its locations within two years, the coffee chain announced Monday, becoming the largest food and beverage company to do so as calls for businesses and cities to cut waste grow louder.

While the straws account for a small percentage of the pollution that ends up in the ocean, they've become a flashpoint because they're seen as an easy way to reduce waste.

"There are several of these single-use items the public is realizing, hey, we don't actually need these," said Denise Hardesty, a scientist with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation who studies plastic pollution.

A week after its hometown of Seattle banned plastic drinking straws and utensils, Starbucks said Monday that by 2020, it will use straws made from biodegradable materials such as paper and specially designed lids. The company already offers alternative straws in Seattle.

Straws often become trash because their small size makes them difficult to recycle.

Other cities, like Fort Myers Beach in Florida, have banned plastic straws, and similar proposals are being considered in New York and San Francisco. The push to ban the straws gained traction after a viral video in 2015 showed rescuers removing a straw from a sea turtle's nose in graphic detail.

The issue of waste more broadly is coming up in company boardrooms.

In February, Dunkin' Donuts said it would eliminate polystyrene foam cups from its stores by 2020.

McDonald's said it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year and test alternatives to plastic straws in some U.S. locations. The burger chain also said this year it would use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025.

Plastic drinking straws make up only about 4 percent of plastic trash by number of pieces, and far less by weight. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the nearly 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in waters around the globe each year.

Still, the advocacy group 5 Gyres notes that the top five biggest sources of single-use plastic are plastic bags, water bottles, to-go containers, to-go cups and straws.

Other plastic items have also been targeted in recent years.

Several local governments have enacted bans and fees on plastic bags. Reusable water bottles have also gained popularity as a way to reduce use of plastic water bottles, with refilling water stations popping up on college campuses and elsewhere.

One reason big chains say it will take time to change practices may be the difficulty in securing adequate supplies. Imperial Dade, a food service and janitorial supplies distributor based in New Jersey, says it's seen a huge spike in demand for alternative straws in recent months.

"Our biggest challenge is trying to locate alternative sources so we can satisfy the demand," said Laura Craven, the company's director of marketing.

Craven also said she's starting to see more awareness about the need for exemptions for straws that bend, which people with disabilities and others may need. Starbucks says it expects an alternative it has to work in that regard.

The strawless lids will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver Starbucks this fall, with phased rollouts within the U.S. and Canada next year. A global rollout of strawless lids will follow, beginning in Europe, where they will be used in some stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the United Kingdom.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Capital staffer remembered as 'smart, beautiful, talented'
Capital Gazette staffers Rebecca Smith and Gerald Fischman were remembered Sunday for how they lived, not how they died, at the hands of a newsroom shooter who killed five people.
9:27AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Starbucks, citing ocean threat, is ditching plastic straws
Starbucks will rid its stores of plastic straws at locations around the world, citing threat to oceans, environment
9:17AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Weinstein is at Manhattan courthouse for new charges
Harvey Weinstein is in a New York courthouse for arraignment on charges alleging he committed a sex crime against a third woman
9:14AM ( 22 minutes ago )
U.S. News
The Latest: Croatia bars ex-player from World Cup over video
Croatia has kicked ex-player Ognjen Vukojevic out of its World Cup delegation after he made a pro-Ukraine video with defender Domagoj Vida
9:35AM ( 1 minute ago )
Rescuers search for dozens still missing after Japan floods
Rescuers in southwestern Japan have dug up more bodies as they searched for dozens still missing after heavy rains caused severe flooding and left residents to return to their homes unsure where to start the cleanup
9:15AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Royals sign 16-year-old Japanese pitcher for $322,500
Right-hander Kaito Yuki is headed to the Kansas City Royals organization instead of attending high school in Japan, agreeing to a minor league contract with a $322,500 signing bonus
9:14AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
UK leader fills top Brexit post after shock resignation
Britain and the European Union are insisting that their divorce negotiations remain on track, after the resignation of the U.K.'s top Brexit official shook Prime Minister Theresa May's fragile grip on power
8:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ambulance leaves Thai cave on 2nd day of rescue operation
An ambulance with flashing lights left the site of a flooded cave in northern Thailand where a youth soccer team has been trapped for two weeks, just hours after the second phase of a rescue operation was launched on Monday
7:21AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump enjoys 'suspense' ahead of Supreme Court announcement
Trump insists he hasn't narrowed his choices beyond his final four picks for Supreme Court nominee
7:13AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Rescuers prepare to move rest of boys, coach from Thai cave
Authorities are preparing to resume extractions of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand a day after 4 boys were rescued
3:48AM ( 5 hours ago )
Trump says he 'can't go wrong' with his top court contenders
Trump says he "can't go wrong" with any of the four people at the top of his list for a Supreme Court vacancy
3:01AM ( 6 hours ago )
In blow to May, UK's top Brexit official quits government
Britain's most senior official in charge of negotiating the country's exit from the European Union has resigned, accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of undermining Brexit with her plan to keep close trade ties with the bloc
1:12AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Aviation crash reported in Virginia residential area
Authorities say at least one person was killed in a helicopter crash in a residential area in Virginia
11:53PM ( 9 hours ago )
Slain newspaper editor hailed as shy but brilliant writer
One of the five newspaper employees killed in a shooting at a Maryland newspaper's office is remembered as a shy man who expressed his brilliant intellect through the editorials he wrote
10:03PM ( 11 hours ago )
'Ant-Man and the Wasp' buzzes to $76 million debut
Despite its heroes' diminutive size, "Ant-Man and the Wasp" opened with typical Marvel might at the box office, with an estimated $76 million in ticket sales
9:30PM ( 12 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
The Latest: California wildfire briefly shuts down highway
A new wildfire sparked in Northern California briefly shutting down a highway Sunday night
10:57PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Containment grows on California's largest fire
Firefighters are making significant progress on a wildfire in California that has burned more than a dozen structures and blackened over 141 square miles
10:05PM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: Rains ease at Thai cave after overnight lashing
Rescuers at a Thai cave where eight boys and their soccer coach remain trapped have awoken to cloudy skies, after a night of heavy monsoon rains
9:52PM ( 11 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
UK police cite 'high dose' in nerve agent death
British police say they believe the latest victims of poisoning by a nerve agent must have handled the material's container and been subjected to a "high dose" of the lethal poison
8:21AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ethiopia, Eritrea restore diplomatic relations, phone calls
Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders formally restored relations Monday, ending 20 years of enmity, and citizens from both counties immediately began phoning each other to get back in touch
7:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump's tariffs: What they are and how they will work
Trump's tariffs: What they are, what they're supposed to do and whether they're likely to work
7:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Capital staffer remembered as 'smart, beautiful, talented'
Capital Gazette staffers Rebecca Smith and Gerald Fischman were remembered Sunday for how they lived, not how they died, at the hands of a newsroom shooter who killed five people.
9:27AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Weinstein is at Manhattan courthouse for new charges
Harvey Weinstein is in a New York courthouse for arraignment on charges alleging he committed a sex crime against a third woman
9:14AM ( 22 minutes ago )
The Latest: Weinstein arrives at court to face new charges
Harvey Weinstein is at a Manhattan courthouse for arraignment on charges alleging he committed a sex crime against a third woman
8:52AM ( 44 minutes ago )
ACLU: Less than half of child reunions will meet deadline
The American Civil Liberties Union says it appears the Trump administration will miss Tuesday's deadline to reunite young children with their parents in more than half of the cases
6:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
Crews battle destructive wildfires raging in US West
A wildfire flared up in Northern California and temporarily shut down a highway filled with people returning home from the holiday weekend
1:47AM ( 7 hours ago )