Oddly enough, straws have been on a lot of our minds this year. There was that trend in Japan where people put hamburgers on a straw. Not to mention the campaign in Charleston, South Carolina fighting to ban straws. Strawless Summer aimed to reduce ocean pollution by cutting back on straw use. With hashtags like #stopsucking and #skipthestraw, Strawless Summer was easily one of our favorite events this year. Another battle is beginning waged, but this one isn't focused on one particular city. Now, Starbucks is being urged by activists to phase out plastic straws.
An Oakland-based environmental group called As You Sow is in the business of protecting our planet by engaging corporations. They focus on issues in the realms of energy, environmental health, human rights, and any other activism-worthy cause. As You Sow's latest project is to end the use of plastic straws by Starbucks. Their efforts are based around a recent increase in insight on plastic ocean pollution.
The waste is becoming such a problem that cities are starting to ban plastic straws entirely. Beyond Charleston, Seattle recently announced a law that will ban plastic straws and utensils. That ban is set to begin next summer.
You've been to Starbucks, and you're probably wondering how you'd drink your Venti Iced Americano without a straw. As You Sow suggests replacing plastic with paper straws. Companies like Aardvark Straws are, for lack of a better word, capitalizing on the bad sides of plastic. Their paper straws not only look cool, but they'll also hold up quite well and pose less of a hazard to our oceans.
As You Sow believes that plastic is bad and paper is better. They also think, though, that straws are an overused item in general. We're not sure if our pearly whites want to come into direct contact with iced coffee every day, but we could probably deal with a total lack of straw.
Genuinely, the environmental group just wants Starbucks to live up to its commitment in environmental leadership. If Starbucks can meet As You Sow's demands and ditch plastic straws, its likely other large companies may follow.