The last straw? Starbucks pledges to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020

Enlarge ImageIt's the lid heard around the world.                  Starbucks

Starbucks said cold beverages in which a straw is typically included make up 50% of the drinks its sells, up from just 37% five years ago.

The company is the latest to announce a ban on the straws as global awareness of ocean pollution and harm to marine life increases.

The company will broaden the manufacture and use of what some in social media have dubbed the "adult sippy cup". Ice-blended Frappuccinos, meanwhile, will be served with straws made of paper or compostable plastic. These now come with drinks like the Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam, and will come with the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew to be released on Tuesday.

Starbucks says that customers in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to go strawless beginning this fall, with more markets to follow. And it's a part of Starbucks' $10 million investment in creating recyclable and compostable cups around the world.

This follows an announcement by McDonald's that it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year, and test alternatives to plastic straws in some US locations. The transition will be complete in 2019, the company said.

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McDonald's shareholders voted down a proposal requesting a report on plastic straws in May. "Metal straws can be risky for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions".

In the United States, local governments are already putting similar restrictions into place.

A number of restaurants and private establishments also have taken measures to curb their use of plastic straws.

Say goodbye to plastic straws at Starbucks. Phased rollouts within the USA and Canada will then follow.

Starbucks Coffee Co. plans to phase out single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 company-operated and licensed stores by 2020 in an effort to reduce its global waste footprint.

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