StarBucks Straw Ban – Corporate Sustainability

Starbucks Straw Ban, Sucks the Fun Out of Plastic Straws

The Starbucks straw ban is making headlines right now.  Faced with a growing backlash over its effect on the environment, Starbucks is about to stop using disposable plastic straws by 2020.  This will erase more than one billion straws a year from consumption.   Talk about a big plastic footprint – for one company!  For smaller coffee shops, OKSTRAW™ is here to help supply a paper alternative that is planet friendly and people safe. Check out our on-hand inventory here. 

Although plastic straws are made from polypropylene, a recyclable plastic, most recyclers won’t accept them. Plastic straws are pretty small and lightweight, so when they’re going through the mechanical sorter, they’re often lost or diverted.  That means plastic straws get tossed in the garbage, ending up in landfills and polluting the ocean.  Did you know it takes 200 years for polypropylene plastic straws to break down under normal environmental conditions?  Plastic straws suck the health right out of marine habitats and coastlines when not recycled.

Instead, Starbucks’s 28,000 worldwide stores will use recyclable, strawless lids on most of its iced drinks.  And while they are making concessions on most of their concessions – The Frappuccino is the one exception.  While the Starbucks straw ban will eliminate plastic straws – they will still use straws made from either paper or recyclable plastic. The plastic straw, a once ubiquitous accessory for frosty summer drinks and sugary sodas, has been falling out of favor in recent years, faced with a growing backlash over its effect on the environment.

It is difficult to know how many straws or straw particles end up in the world’s waterways and oceans, but plastic straws are one of the most common items found on beaches, according to the Ocean Conservancy, whose volunteers have picked up more than 9 million straws and stirrers from beaches and waterways. The Starbuck’s straw ban aims to curb this plastic consumption.

Oakland Straw Ban is a Beachhead Against Single Use Plastics

Oakland Straw Ban is Bigger Then Plastic Straws

The Oakland straw ban was voted unanimously by City Council to approve an ordinance that will prohibit the use of single-use plastic straws in the city’s restaurants, bars and cafes unless customers ask for them.   The city council claims: plastic straws pose a long-term threat to marine life, waterways and natural habitats, such as Lake Merritt, and eventually local residents by way of food consumption and collateral environmental effects. During that time, the plastic becomes brittle and breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, called microplastics, which can be eaten by organisms. Further complicating matters, when the plastics break down, their surface area to volume ratio increases, leading to a higher rate of BPA absorption.  This Oakland straw ban aims to clean the environment which we rely on for safe drinking water and food alike. 

The Oakland straw ban ordinance approved by the City Council includes a provision that directs City Administrator Sabrina Landreth to return to the council in six months with draft legislation for including containers, utensils and other disposable food-service ware in the restrictions in addition to single-use straws. That’s right – this is bigger than just straws.  Those who trivialize the movement to ditch plastic straws for an eco-friendly alternative, must confront the fact that Oakland is taking aim at single use plastics as a larger whole. 

The Oakland straw ban ordinance is supported by Save the Bay and the Sierra Club, leading advocates for plastic bag and straw ban legislation in California and local community groups such as East Bay Animal PAC. The ordinance is supported by Save the Bay and the Sierra Club, leading advocates for plastic bag and straw ban legislation in California and local community groups such as East Bay Animal PAC.  Santa Cruz County and the cities of Alameda, Davis and Manhattan Beach have adopted similar plastic straw regulations. The Bay Area is the progressive epicenter for this type of sustainability efforts in curbing single use plastic consumption. OKSTRAW™ is excited to partner with local communities and businesses alike to start saving the health of our environment and our body’s.