Jul 9, 2018

2020 is the last straw for Starbucks

Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Starbucks announced on Monday a phase-out of plastic straws in their 28,000 stores across the world by 2020, planning to replace them with a "strawless lid" and straws made of paper and recyclable plastic.

Why it matters: Starbucks estimates that this change will remove a billion single-use straws from its stores each year. Straws represent an especially unnecessary plastic to many, used once for minutes before being discarded, and have been linked to deaths of marine and bird life due to improper disposal.

The big picture: According to organization For a Strawless Ocean, Americans use 500 million plastic straws each day — and the majority end up in the ocean. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that the mass of plastic in the ocean will surpass that of marine life by 2050.

The bans are in vogue, and some activists hope the straw bans may serve as a "gateway plastic" to reducing other single-use plastics.

  • The UK announced a full phase-out of straws and cotton swabs in April.
  • Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws on July 1.

Yes, but: Plastic straws aren't the biggest culprit in plastics pollution, they're just easy to remove. While banning them would reduce pollution overall, it would make a small dent and the world's largest buyer, McDonald's, hasn't announced any planned phase-out.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 1,139,207 — Total deaths: 60,874 — Total recoveries: 233,807Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 278,537 — Total deaths: 7,163 — Total recoveries: 9,920Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state has opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: A pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Military updates: Senators call for independent investigation into the firing of Navy captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as enlistment stations are shut down.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Coronavirus reshapes American families

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It used to be scarce and hard-earned, but suddenly family time is abundant in the era of shelter-in-place.

Why it matters: For the first time since the early 19th century, many parents and kids — and even grandchildren — are all under the same roof round-the-clock. And if past periods of emergency are any guide, this enforced togetherness could deepen our relationships for years to come.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health

Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.