Starbucks, guilty over environment, introduces sippy cups to replace straws
Joining other woke companies, the ever virtuous Starbucks announced a few days ago that it's replacing its familiar cup lid and plastic straw with a more compostable, and less dangerous to water creatures, sippy cup lid.
Plastic straws take about 200 years to break down in the environment, increasing the presence of microplastics in landfills and oceans. Both straws and the broken-down microplastics are ingested by marine life, ending up in our seafood and harming marine ecosystems. A graphic video of a marine biologist pulling a plastic straw from a sea turtle's nose went viral and helped the movement to eliminate single-use plastic straws.
Well, yes, I certainly don't want straws stuck in the noses of turtles or other marine life. And I certainly don't want them – or me – to partake of microplastics. But those newly designed lids look awkward to use, perhaps allowing some of the cup's valuable contents to not quite reach their intended destination, instead dribbling out of the sipper's mouth onto the chin or...traveling farther onto the sipper's clothing. Ewww! And also not eco-friendly, because soap and water would need to be used to remove the stain.
More importantly, the U.S. is not a major plastic polluter of waterways. That dubious honor belongs to Asia, according the World Bank:
Eight million tons of plastics are dumped in the ocean each year – that is about one truck of garbage per minute. The same research lists China, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam – all in East Asia – as countries dumping the most plastic waste. Indeed, East Asia is producing waste faster than any other region in the world. ...
The lower reaches of the Mekong river flow through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and more and more plastic trash is spilling out from inadequate waste management systems. The Yangtze River contributes 55 percent of the estimated 2.75 million metric tonnes of plastic waste going into oceans each year. Rivers in Indonesia carry large volumes of plastic.
So, instead of imposing drippy sippy cups on fastidious coffee-drinkers, Starbucks should make Asia's turtles, sharks, and other watery creatures safer by donating to waste management plants in the offending Asian countries.
Coffee-drinkers and turtles will thank you.