Utah businesses applaud Starbucks for jumping on plastic straw ban bandwagon

SALT LAKE CITY – Starbucks is the latest company to announce a ban on plastic straws, but 95 Utah businesses already took the pledge months ago.

The coffee chain is ditching single-use plastic straws from all its locations by 2020. They’ll replace them with new lids that look a lot like sippy cups. They’ll also have alternative material straw options. The move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year.

“It's showing the smaller businesses that the bigger businesses are looking towards the horizon,” said Laura Bellefontaine, with the SLC Air Protectors. While she commends Starbucks for taking the initiative to cut waste globally, she says 95 Utah businesses jumped on the bandwagon in the spring as part of the SLC Strawless campaign.

Half are those are Costa Vida Restaurants – who were brought in with help from the Green Party.

“Most people don't know this but plastic straws are not recyclable,” said Bellefontaine. “The average restaurant uses 5000 straws every single month. That takes 400,000 straws off the market just every month.”

Sierra Batey opened the Commonwealth Room in Salt Lake City on May 5. Right out of the gate, the bar and concert venue decided to offer paper straws instead of plastic ones.

“We don't give them to people with their drinks automatically. They do have to ask for the straw. If someone really wants to break up the ice in their drink, they usually go for a stir stick,” said Batey.

Batey says it cuts down on waste, plus the cost and storage of straws.

“You have to think about recycling those and then sometimes the straws come in their own plastic container which is just another thing that is insane to me. Overall, it's just a great consumer choice for everyone," said Batey.

For more information about SLC Air Protectors, click here: https://www.facebook.com/slcairprotectors/

For more information about Strawless SLC, click here: https://www.facebook.com/strawlessinslc/