Starbucks hops on the straw ban-wagon

Starbucks announced that it will phase out plastic straws across its 28k locations by 2020. But will it really make a difference?

Yesterday, ever-progressive Starbucks announced that it would phase out plastic straws across its 28k locations by 2020.

They’ll be replaced with a strawless lid, and straws made of paper and recyclable plastic, eliminating 1B straws per year.

Americans currently use 500m plastic straws a day, and scientists predict that the mass of ocean plastic will surpass marine life by 2050. So, the question is: Will this really make a dent?

Straw bans are trendy

The hashtag #stopsucking is backed by celebs like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Russell Crowe, and Chelsea Clinton. Organizations like the White Sox, Bon Appetit and Alaska Airlines have already committed to fight the terror of the tiny tubes.

(McDonald’s, one of the world’s biggest plastic straw buyers, has remained quiet on the issue).

But both Vox and Axios note that straws aren’t the biggest culprit, they’re just low-hanging fruit.

It’s the Mr. Miyagi approach to environmentalism:

First, get people to practice small steps like getting rid of straws. Next thing you know, they’ll be full-on, black belt conservationists. 

Advocates hope straws will be a “gateway ban” that encourages people down a path of reducing other single-use plastic.

Let’s just hope they can find a better alternative than those cute-but-wimpy paper straws that disintegrate faster than a napkin in a bathtub.

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