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Starbucks proposed plastic straw ban draws fire from disability rights groups

Starbucks announced on July 9 that it would phase out plastic straws from its stores by 2020. In the past few days, however, several U.S.-based groups have protested the policy, saying it will exclude some people with disabilities.


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July 16, 2018 by Canadian Plastics

The recent announcement from global coffee giant Starbucks that it will ban plastic straws is being criticized by disability rights activists, who say the policy would exclude some people with disabilities.

Starbucks announced on July 9 that it would phase out plastic straws from its stores by 2020. In the past few days, however, several U.S.-based groups, including the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled and Disabled in Action in Brooklyn, N.Y., have protested the policy.

In response to complaints from the disability groups, Seattle, Wash.-based Starbucks released a statement on July 13 specifying that straws would be available for anyone who asks to use them. “Starbucks offers, and will continue to offer, straws to customers who need or request them in our stores,” the statement said.

In its July 9 announcement, Starbucks said it will supply an alternative to plastic straw use: the adult sippy cup lid. The lid features a raised lip and will be fully recyclable. Some drinks will continue to have straws, including Frappuccinos, but those straws will be made with either compostable plastic or paper.

Starbucks is the latest in a growing list of companies taking steps to eliminate plastic straws: McDonalds, A&W Canada, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Ikea, and Hyatt are all working on phasing plastic straws out as well.