Last year, market research firm The Freedonia Group Inc. reported that Americans used about 390 million plastic straws every day. That is enough straws to circle the earth 2.5 times, it says. An infographic from GetGreenNow.com states that each year 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic.
These eye-opening statistics, along with negative public responses, have prompted several beverages companies to implement policies and new products in an attempt to keep oceans cleaner and further sustainability efforts.
For example, Starbucks Corp. announced it will phase out plastic straws from all stores by 2020. This policy change will help the company eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws a year, the company said in a statement.
To eliminate straws, Starbucks will transition from the flat, plastic lids that required straws, to one that features a raised lip. CNN Money called it the “adult sippy cup.” Frappuccino drinks will be served with the dome lids; however, the straws now are made from paper or compostable plastic. In a statement, Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson called this new policy a “significant milestone” in the company’s sustainability efforts.
Product innovation also is a popular environmental trend. Repurpose Inc. announced the launch of its single-use compostable straws that are BPA free, chlorine free and nontoxic. The straws break down in an industrial composter in 90 days and the packaging is made from 85 percent recycled material, the company says.
Even major consumer-driven companies like American Airlines and Hyatt Hotels Corp. are changing plastic straw policies in order to combat plastic waste. As public awareness continues to increase, more and more companies will be joining the movement toward cleaner oceans and a cleaner earth.