Starbucks to ditch single-use plastic straws by 2020

Cold beverages currently account for more than 50 percent of Starbucks’ beverage sales, which is part of the reason the company goes through more than a billion plastic straws each year at its more than 28,000 stores.

Customers have been calling on restaurants like Starbucks and McDonald’s to ditch single-use plastic items like straws, cups and bags, but it’s not always an easy fix. Many of these chains have thousands of locations and serve millions of customers daily, making it difficult to completely eliminate these nonrecyclable items quickly or without massive costs.

“There isn’t currently a viable alternative that’s nonplastic at the moment, at the scale we need,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said last month. But the company is testing alternatives, including compostable straws.

McDonald’s also is adhering to the goals set by the Paris accord on climate change and seeking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent by 2030.

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