Americans use over 500 million plastic straws every day, according to Lonely Whale’s Strawless Ocean campaign, most of which end up in the earth's seas. This results in the death of 100 million plus marine life worldwide — and, because of this, companies are vowing to replace plastic with paper straws.
Only about 1 percent of plastic straws can be recycled, and now, restaurant and food chains are pledging to find a safer, eco-friendly alternative to reduce the world’s plastic intake and keep our oceans safe.
All the companies replacing plastic with paper straws or other alternatives
Many big-name brands have vowed to reduce ocean pollution by banning plastic straws and adopting alternatives such as paper products.
The following are companies attempting to do their part in helping the environment with their reduction of plastic and adoption of paper straws.
Monday, July 9, Starbucks announced that it will be replacing plastic straws with a recyclable, strawless lid by 2020. Paper straws, or ones made from compostable plastic, will still be available upon request. According to a news release, this shift will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from Starbucks stores.
The lids are currently available in over 8,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S. and Canada for select beverages such as the Nitro Cold Brew and Cold Foam. The design has been compared to an "adult sippy cup" and will eventually become "the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages."
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Seattle and Vancouver Starbucks customers will reportedly see a full implementation of these lids starting in the fall, followed by the U.S. and the rest of Canada, then a global rollout.
Looks like an adult sippy cup but really it’s the new @Starbucks straw-free iced coffee lids! They come with the nitro cold brews, but you can ask for one for any cold drink to be more eco-friendly ?☕️ pic.twitter.com/OyzEKDucPS— Abby Isaacs WMAR (@AbbyIsaacsNews) July 3, 2018
Dune Ives, Executive Director of Lonely Whale, told Metro in a statement that Starbucks' shift away from plastic straws "is a shining example of the power of radical collaboration to save our ocean. Lonely Whale is delighted and proud to see how the persistent efforts of policy-makers, community activists and youth leaders can drive more sustainable industry practices."
In the meantime, Ives says that "conscious coffee consumers can pledge to forgo the single-use plastic straw or invest in marine-friendly options, like paper, metal, bamboo and glass, among others."
McDonald’s announced back in June that it will be implementing a shift from plastic to paper straws by 2019 in all of its U.K. and Ireland locations.
McDonald’s will begin testing paper straws in select locations in the U.S., France, Sweden, Norway and Australia as well.
A Girl Scout who founded Jr. Ocean Guardians contacted Alaska Airlines last year about eliminating plastic straws. The airline announced that it will be replacing these straws and citrus picks with "sustainable, marine-friendly alternatives on all domestic and international flights, as well as in Alaska’s lounges across the country" starting this summer.
Pret A Manger
By the year 2025, Pret A Manger says it will implement changes to its plastic packaging — one of these changes being the elimination of "single-use plastic" straws.
The company launched paper straws in select shops earlier this year.
We're pledging to reduce, reuse and recycle as much plastic as possible. We’ll keep you updated along the way… pic.twitter.com/XOMY2HKWAv— Pret (@Pret) May 3, 2018
The list goes on for companies eventually switching to paper straws and other alternatives
Over 40 big-name brands signed the U.K. Plastics Pact this year to reduce plastic packaging and increase their use of compostable or recyclable products.
The list includes Coca-Cola, Pepsi Co, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nestle.
U.K. restaurant chain Wagamama stopped offering plastic straws in April. And other British chains introducing paper straws and other alternatives in place of plastic ones include Pizza Express, Wetherspoons and supermarket Waitrose. Costa Coffee in the U.K. launched alternatives for plastic straws as well.
Food service company Bon Appetit is also banning plastic straws in all 1,000 of its cafes in the U.S.
The White Sox became the first Major League Baseball team to ditch plastic straws as part of the "Shedd the Straw" initiative. Biodegradable straws were offered at their home turf, Guaranteed Rate Field, starting Earth Day this year.