Starbucks just announced in response to environmentalist pleas for a change to the coffee chain's (and many others) use of plastics. They say they plan to eliminate plastic straws worldwide by 2020.
My first thought is GREAT!! Whenever this kind of thing hits the news, my second thought is ALWAYS "so what are they replacing it with?" and "will that be any more environmentally friendly?" ANSWER; Probably not. But that's just me being my usual jaded cynical self.
A week after Seattle banned plastic drinking straws and utensils (a good thing), the company said Monday that by 2020, it will be using straws made from biodegradable materials like paper (don't you need to tear down trees to make paper? isn't deforestation just as big an issue as plastics in our oceans?) and specially designed lids (are these lids going to be plastic? Did we just trade a plastic straw for a weird adult sippy-cup plastic lid??)
It's kind of like the towns and companies who did away with the plastic shopping bags but are now replacing them with PAPER bags! so where are we getting the damn brown paper? Don't we need to do twice the tree clearing? I guess no matter what we do we are fucked.
According to NBC news :
While plastic drinking straws have become one of the more high-profile issues environmentally, they make up only about 4 percent of the plastic trash by number of pieces, and far less by weight. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the nearly 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in the water each year.