Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws from all of its locations within two years, citing the environmental threat to oceans.

Viral videos - including one depicting researchers extracting a plastic straw from a sea turtle's bleeding nostril - is prompting some companies and municipalities to find ocean-friendlier alternatives. Some governments have begun banning them.

To comply with the July 1 plastic straw ban, Starbucks stores in Seattle are offering customers new compostable straws, splash sticks and cutlery. The new designs have drawn comparisons to an adult "sippy cup".

Those straws will be provided for blended Frappuccino beverages, or by special request, the company said. These now come with drinks like the Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam, and will come with the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew to be released on Tuesday.

The recyclable lids are already in use in about 8,000 Starbucks locations in the United States and Canada, the company said.

"With 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines, and we are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space", Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancys Trash Free Seas program, said in the release.

Last month, McDonald's said that it would start switching to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland in September.

WATCH: Plastic straw ban?

A number of restaurants and private establishments also have taken measures to curb their use of plastic straws.

It comes a week after Starbucks's USA hometown of Seattle banned single-use plastic straws and utensils at businesses that sell food or drinks in the city. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the almost 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in the water each year.

The effort to reduce waste is part of a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund's Cascading Materials Vision program, the statement said. "We hope others will follow in [Starbucks'] footsteps".

The company said it is the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a commitment-a decision that will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from its stores.

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