Here’s what I’d imagine how 2025 looks like: people are drinking direct from cups, dabao kopis would look like this (notice there’s no straw)…
…and your kids would see this in museums.
And no, it’s not just part of my creative imagination: it’s going to be a reality, because now, even Starbucks has announced that by 2020, they would be ditching plastic straws in ALL stores.
Yeah, last I know, all means your favourite Singapore outlets would also be affected.
The move, according to Starbucks, would cut out about 1 billion straws a year. That’s a lot of straws we’re talking about.
The move was apparently motivated by requests from customers (did I ask for that?) and partners. The vice-president of Starbucks’ global social impact (wah, Starbucks got this kind of department?) says, “Not using a straw is the best thing we can do for the environment.”
Replacing the straws would be challenging since some drinks definitely require a straw to drink, unlike KFC that has mere typical drinks.
I mean, how the heck can you drink this without looking like a baby who’s just drunk his milk?
For a drink like this, Starbucks would be replacing the plastic straws with paper-based straws, or straws made with compostable plastic – a kind of plastic that can be decomposed and broken down.
Of course we’ll be wondering how paper straws work, but apparently, it’s not something new: in fact, you can buy it online if you really care for the environment…and not your wallet. Paper straws allegedly cost about ten times more than regular plastic straws.
However, paper straws aren’t as sturdy as normal straws – I mean, you don’t need to be an Albert Einstein to know that it’ll lose its shape fast.
But here’s one more issue that’s irking environmental groups: in order for the cups to work without a straw, a single-use plastic lid would be used instead.
Well, to be fair, most people “dabao” Starbucks so that they can take Instagram-worthy images elsewhere, so the lids are definitely not replaceable. Yet.
WHY WHY WHY
If you’re an alien who just landed on earth and wondered why we’re so obsessed with twenty-two guys chasing a ball and also why we’re reducing single-use plastic items, here’s why.
The first reason is simple: plastic takes a looooong time to break down. Unlike other materials, plastic would take 20 to 10,000 years to break down, which leads to the next point: the world is now filled with plastic.
No, I’m not referring to the noses of Korea stars who went under the knife, but literally plastic items. You see, Starbucks mentioned that they use 1 billion straws per year: if these straws take 10,000 years to break down, we’ll be seeing so many plastic waste that our kids might just stay beside a pile of plastic.
The third, and a pretty pressing one, is the impact of these plastic waste on wildlife animals. Here, take a look at this video of a sea turtle that sucked a straw in its nose.
The solution to that is to tell wild animals, especially marine life, not to eat plastic straws or plastic bags, but unless an animal whisperer has been found, this problem would lead to more endangered animals.
And it’s a worldwide effort
Of course KFC Singapore and Starbucks aren’t the only ones – they just got into the news as they’re big companies that use a lot of straws.
Over in Taiwan, they’re taking an even more drastic measure: by 2030, all plastic cups and straws would be banned. By 2020, all restaurants would have to stop providing plastic straws as well.
Over in the US, selected McDonald’s outlets are testing other straw alternatives, and in the UK, the giant chain will be adopting paper straws by next year.
So, yeah. My imagination of the future without plastic straw isn’t too far-fetched. In fact, it might just materialize earlier #justsaying
Now you know what Singaporeans are talking about today; do check back tomorrow for another piece of news of the day!