Starbucks announced Monday that the company will eliminate plastic straws in order to reduce waste, calling the move an “environmental milestone.”
The company said it plans to replace plastic straws with a new straw-less lid at 28,000 stores by 2020. Starbucks claims this initiative will save one billion straws a year, cutting down on the 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic waste that flows into the ocean and harms marine life.
Starbucks’ decision comes amid a growing movement to eliminate plastic straws, as local governments and companies such as Alaska Airlines have passed resolutions banning their use.
Though environmental groups applauded the decision, the switch will not be the end of the plastic pollution debate. Straws account for only some of the world’s plastic waste, with other culprits including plastic bags and balloons. As David Perry wrote in Pacific Standard in May, these bans can also shame disabled consumers who rely on straws.
At Starbucks, customers who want to use straws can opt for a paper one.