Other cities, like Fort Myers Beach in Florida, have banned plastic straws, and similar proposals are being considered in NY and San Francisco.
Though plastic straws wont immediately be eliminated from Tampa Bays Starbucks locations, some local businesses have already begun their own environmental friendly initiatives.
While plastic pollution has always been the target of environmental groups, the impact of straws on marine life has recently moved to the centre of plastic-banning efforts. Frappuccino drinks will continue to be served with dome lids that require straws, but the straws themselves will no longer be plastic ones but alternatives made from paper or special compostable plastic.
The decision came after the company worked to design a new lid for the Draft Nitro cold foam beverage in 2016 that was originally served only in Seattle, according to a release from Starbucks. Alaska Airlines said in May that it's phasing out the use of plastic stirrers and straws in its drinks after receiving a call to action from an environmentally-concerned Girl Scout.
In place of straws, iced drinks will be topped with a lid that features a teardrop-shaped opening about the size of a thumbprint, which provides a cleaner less ridged version of a hot cup lid. Several European countries and cities in the United States are mulling restrictions on the use of plastic straws, although outright bans are still rare. "Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species". Doing some serious math, the chain says the move will keep an estimated 1 billion straws out of landfills.
"Starbucks is finally drawing a line in the sand and creating a mould for other large brands to follow", said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the almost 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in waters around the globe each year.