Starbucks’ Noteworthy #StrawBan

**Opinion pieces reflect the views of the individual contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of ACC.

In an effort to address pollution in our world’s oceans, Starbucks — one of America’s largest coffee companies — recently announced their plans to phase out the use of plastic straws in its 28,000+ stores around the world. It’s an ambitious undertaking, and one which — if successfully implemented — will set a standard of sustainable practices in corporate America.  

There’s been a growing debate about the use of single use plastic straws for quite some time now, but the conversation has been heightened as of the past few months in light of ongoing social media campaigns and public service efforts to raise awareness on the dangers of pollution, and in particular, single use plastic pollution, in our world’s oceans and environmentally sensitive ecosystems. 

Given this growing debate, Starbucks — a company known for its willingness to engage and participate in national debates, even when such debates are considered to be political or controversial in nature — has decided to take the lead in the service industry, and implement a company wide ban on plastic straws. This is a game-changing policy change within the company and one which will lay the foundation for transformational change within the service industry at large. 

Companies will now be forced to adapt to the changes happening within the industry, and innovate as Starbucks will now set out to do, as they try to invent and make portable, heat-resistant cups and materials, to replace plastics and other materials deemed to be unsafe and unsustainable for the environment, and for the company’s long-term climate action plans. 

Since the announcement, Americans have expressed their support, and at times, their opposition, with Starbuck’s plans to ban plastics, one-use straws at their coffee stores, but an area of common agreement and understanding for most Americans comes from the recognization that more must be done to address the plastic pollution adversely impacting the world’s oceans, and the environment at large. 

Companies like Starbucks should be encouraged, not discouraged, to take #ClimateAction into their own hands — even if it faces risk and unwelcoming reactions from the American public. The only way we, as a nation, can lead on climate and take charge of our climate future is if we encourage companies and free market forces to take the lead, innovate and change what is possible into reality. 

I, for one, look forward to drinking my favorite iced coffee without a plastic straw the next time I go to Starbucks, which will probably be right in the morning after waking up, and three times more throughout the day... 

David Acosta