Following a global trend that picked up when the UK banned single-use plastic this past spring, Starbucks announced today that it will eliminate its plastic straws worldwide by 2020.
If this past week in Montreal has proved anything, it's that the environment is in critical condition. The brutal heatwave killed over fifty people across southern Quebec and called attention to ever-increasing average global temperature.
The elimination of straws probably won't directly address extreme heat, of course, but the move will go a long way toward decreasing the flow of plastic into the world's oceans. Not recyclable and a choking hazard, seemingly innocuous straws can be deadly to the unsuspecting sea creature.
Starbucks will replace straws for cold drinks with special lids. Many locations began giving out the lids last week. The one problem: the lids tend to spill their contents. With just a small lip between your coffee and your white work shirt, the new caps can be a hazard for the business person on-the-go.
Nevertheless, this latest news is huge. Starbucks is the largest chain to date to institute a straw ban. Hopefully, other large beverage companies will hop on the band wagon soon.
Plastic free consumption is here to stay. After the city of Montreal banned single-use plastic bags, perhaps straws will be the next to follow.