Still, the advocacy group 5 Gyres notes that the top five biggest sources of single-use plastic are plastic bags, water bottles, to-go containers, to-go cups and straws.
Other plastic items have also been targeted in recent years.
Several local governments have enacted bans and fees on plastic bags. Reusable water bottles have also gained popularity as a way to reduce use of plastic water bottles, with refilling water stations popping up on college campuses and elsewhere.
One reason big chains say it will take time to change practices may be the difficulty in securing adequate supplies. Imperial Dade, a food service and janitorial supplies distributor based in New Jersey, says it’s seen a huge spike in demand for alternative straws in recent months.
“Our biggest challenge is trying to locate alternative sources so we can satisfy the demand,” said Laura Craven, the company’s director of marketing.
Craven also said she’s starting to see more awareness about the need for exemptions for straws that bend, which people with disabilities and others may need. Starbucks says it expects an alternative it has to work in that regard.
The strawless lids will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver Starbucks this fall, with phased rollouts within the U.S. and Canada next year. A global rollout of strawless lids will follow, beginning in Europe, where they will be used in some stores in France and the Netherlands, as well as in the United Kingdom.
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