Starbucks, a major food, and beverage company has decided to do away with plastic straws from all of its locations by 2020. It has set for itself a time-bound program of two years to accomplish this because these pose a serious threat to the environment and the oceans.

Telegraph UK reports that Seattle has banned plastic drinking straws and utensils, and will switch over to straws made from biodegradable materials like paper. It will also introduce specially designed lids to avoid the need for straws. Cities like Fort Meyers have already banned plastic straws while New York and San Francisco are expected to follow suit.

Obviously, there is now a greater awareness about the ill effects of these products.

Starbucks takes the lead

Plastic straws fall into the category of single-use plastic and Starbucks will eliminate them from its outlets by 2020. These straws pose a major threat to the environment because they are non-biodegradable and will remain for decades without decomposition.

When they ultimately flow into the oceans, they endanger marine animals who fall prey to these pollutants. They mistake them as edible stuff and pay for it with their lives. Many instances have been highlighted by environmentalists about this man-made menace.

Apart from Starbucks, another company is also contemplating similar action.

It is the burger chain McDonald's, and it plans to replace plastic straws with paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year. It also wants to test out alternatives in some locations in the United States.

Incidentally, plastic straws, though millions in numbers are negligible in comparison to the total amount of plastic waste generated across the globe.

The weight of these straws will be around 2,000 tons annually while the total weight of plastic that accumulates in a year could be several million tons.

Specially designed lids could be an answer

Starbucks Coffee Co. is contemplating strawless lids or straws made from an alternative material. This is very positive thinking and is expected to reduce consumption of plastic straws by more than 1 billion every year.

According to Daily Mail UK, the concept of a strawless lid is not new. It is already available in many outlets in the United States and Canada for select beverages and is being piloted in some foreign countries. In due course of time, it will be implemented for beverages like iced coffee, tea, and espresso. However, paper straws or straws made out of alternate material will be available by exception to customers on request.