Starbucks announced on Monday that it will ban plastic straws from all of its company-operated and licensed stores, worldwide, in less than two years.
The company cited the environmental threat to oceans posed by the single-use products as its motivating factor to accomplish this goal by 2020.
The switch is expected to eliminate the use of more than 1 billion plastic straws each year, according to estimates by Starbucks Coffee Co.
To carry out this change, Starbucks will make a strawless lid or alternative material straw options available for certain drinks at more than 28,000 stores.
'For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways,' Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, said in a statement posted to the company's website.
The strawless lid is already available in over 8,000 stores in the US and Canada for select beverages, including Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam.
It is now being piloted for Nitro beverages in China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and will become the company's standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages.
Straws made out of paper or compostable plastic, for use with Frappuccino blended beverages, will also be available by request for customers who prefer or need a straw.
Starbucks said cold drinks that have previously typically included a straw make up 50 per cent of its beverages sold at this time.
This number is up from just 37 per cent of beverage sales, five years ago.
The company's announcement comes one week after it's flagship city, Seattle, banned single-use plastic straws and utensils at businesses that sell food or drinks within its limits.
Starbucks' Seattle and Vancouver locations will be the first to roll out the change.
With this move, the business becomes the largest food and beverage company operating globally to commit to this policy, it said.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.