Earlier this week Starbucks announced that they would be phasing out straws and would no longer be giving them with drinks in the next two years. The internet was clearly not happy about this and took to the comments section of the articles to express their concerns. Plastic straws have become a hot button issue lately, as other restaurants have addressed concerns with plastic straws.

Starbucks To Eliminate Plastic Straws By 2020
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Starbucks plans to use lids that do not require a straw for most of their drinks. For Frappuccinos they will use either paper or a biodegradable straws. The straw-less lid has already made its debut when they rolled out their Cold Foam Cascara Cold Brew coffees earlier this year. The lid allowed coffee lovers to experience a foamy drink in a cold form.

The reactions on social media, to me, were downright confusing.

This second comment made me stop for a moment and laugh. I wasn't aware straws are a cultural thing.

Many people have said that straws are a necessity for some people with disabilities. Starbucks has acknowledged this by saying they will have straws for people with disabilities, however they will not be a plastic straw. Many people responded to this statement by saying that straws that are not bendable are still difficult. Starbucks has never had bendable straws, so this is a moot point.

According to Ecocycle.org, the U.S. uses 500 million straws per day. Those 500 million straws would fill over 127 school buses.

A few years ago I remember a video made its way around social media of a plastic straw being removed from a nostril of a sea turtle. Warning: the video is a bit disturbing, but shows what straws are doing to our oceans.

A common argument made against the decision made by Starbucks, is the weight of impact the change will actually make. Many people feel as if taking away plastic straws will have such a minimal impact that it in turn is not worth it. However, even a small change can make a big impact. You have to start somewhere and many companies around the world are starting with plastic straws.

Switching over to reusable, paper, or biodegradable straws is a small change that won't devastate our lives. Do I think this is the start of a trend that will phase out single use plastic at fast food places? Yes, but again we have to start somewhere.

I have also seen the argument that this will in turn use more plastic because they are replacing the plastic straw with a plastic lid. Well, Starbucks has always used a plastic lid... They are not adding more plastic.

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