starbucks straws

Starbucks is removing plastic straws from its Toronto cafes

Say goodbye to the long green straws in your frappucinos, friends, and hello to a world where corporations at least acknowledge the fact that there's a garbage mass twice the size of Texas swirling in the Pacific Ocean.

A growing movement to eliminate plastic waste around the world just scored a huge victory with the news that Starbucks (as in the Starbucks) plans to ditch single-use plastic straws at every one of its locations by 2020.

Starbucks cafes in Canada will start seeing straws removed as early as next year.

The coffee giant may not have started the trend, but it is by far the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a commitment — the implications of which could actually change the world as we know it.

By switching over to strawless sipping lids, Starbucks will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from its stores (and, in turn, from landfills that are destroying wildlife habitats all over the globe.)

"Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species," said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund, in a release issued Monday.

"Starbucks' goal to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 from their global operations in unprecedented and represents a significant step forward in tackling the material waste challenge," she continued. "We hope others will follow in their footsteps..."

Local businesses like The Dakota Tavern and Clinton's have already been straw-free for some time now. In April, another 150 or so Toronto bars and restaurants participated in a day long environmental initiative called The Last Straw, aimed at raising awareness about plastic waste.

Noble as the cause may be, some have criticized anti-straw campaigns as "ableist" in the past.

Starbucks has preemptively thwarted any such criticism by specifying in its announcement on Monday that "alternative-material straws – including paper or compostable plastic – will be rolled-out for Frappuccino blended beverages, and available by request for customers who need a straw."

Lead photo by

Victor Chew


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