The last straw? Starbucks pledges to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020

Starbucks unveils environment-friendly lid for cold drinks which puts straws on shelf

Starbucks announced a new lid design on Monday that makes straws obsolete

Pressure has been building for businesses to shed single-use plastic straws due to the threat they pose to marine life and the health of the world's oceans. Its beverages will feature recyclable lids featuring a raised lip, like those pictured here.

The company will broaden the manufacture and use of what some in social media have dubbed the "adult sippy cup". McDonald's shareholders voted down a proposal requesting a report on plastic straws in May, although it recently said it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year, and test alternatives to plastic straws in some USA locations. Coffee drinkers who prefer straws for other beverages can request the new eco-friendly versions.

The company has already designed and developed a strawless lid that it expects to become a standard for its iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages.

Starbucks will begin rolling out the new lids this fall, starting with locations in Seattle and Vancouver.

"For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways", said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, in a press release. A global rollout will follow, starting in Europe where the strawless lids will arrive in select stores in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Starbucks joins companies, cities, and countries around the world that have banned plastic straws.

Last month, McDonald's announced that it would start testing plastic-straw alternatives at certain US locations later this year.

Starbucks said the conversion will be complete by 2020.

Other municipalities mulling over the same kind of measure include Portland and New York City; California is considering a statewide ban.

WATCH: Plastic straw ban?

Engineers successfully developed a "cleaner, less-ridged version of a hot cup lid", and chose to make it the standard for all iced drinks except the Frappuccino, totally phasing out straws by the year 2020.

Viral videos - including one depicting researchers extracting a plastic straw from a sea turtle's bleeding nostril - is prompting some companies and municipalities to find ocean-friendlier alternatives.

Starbucks announced Monday that it will stop using plastic straws at all of its stores worldwide.

Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program, called Starbucks' decision a "shining example" of how companies can help fight ocean pollution.

"With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, we can not afford to let industry sit on the sidelines", said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas program in a statement.

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