Straw-free challenge gains traction in Bay Area

Local environmentalists and business owners are applauding Starbucks’ decision to ban plastic straws at its shops. The coffee chain announced Monday it hopes to eliminate plastic straws by 2020.

The Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition, bases in the Bay Area, said the eco-friendly movement is gaining speed. “No Straws St Pete” is a local campaign that encourages business and consumers to reduce plastic waste and this summer, Clearwater is challenging its businesses to only offer straws upon request.

While experts say plastic straws only account for a small percentage of ocean pollution, compared to other plastic items, environmentalists say it’s a good start.

Starbucks is the largest food company to take the straw-free challenge. But it plans to replace them with biodegradable straws.