Following the launch of a petition that in time gained more than 69,000 signatures, Starbucks UK decided to launch a trial run of alternative solutions for single-use plastic straws. The coffee chain is set to introduce the new option, biodegradable straws made of paper, across 54 of its stores in London and Manchester to test the public’s reaction to the switch.

The news comes after Stephanie Muttillo, a Starbucks employee from New Jersey, launched a petition urging the coffee giant to stop using the hugely detrimental to the environment plastic straws.

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“I would like to see Starbucks, the company I work for, help lead the way to shrink our footprint on the planet,” Muttillo wrote. “Plastic straws are too lightweight to be recycled, and oftentimes are made out of the same plastic as Styrofoam which CANNOT be recycled. There are many different alternatives to plastic straws!”

The petition was met with an outpouring of support for the idea. Now, Starbucks has finally made a step in the direction of being more environmentally-friendly.

Announcing the trial run, the company has also revealed the results from the first six weeks of the company’s three-month trial into reusable cups, HuffPost UK reports. 35 stores have been implementing a five pence paper cup charge, the extra profits being donated to an environmental charity. Moreover, customers who use reusable cups receive a 25 pence discount. Results show that, thanks to those measures, reusable cup usage has increased by more than 150 percent!

Starbucks‘ decision to try out alternatives to “traditional” plastic straws is great news and will hopefully bring results so positive that paper straws will become the norm in the chain. Leading companies like McDonald’s, Wagamama, and Wetherspoons have already implemented permanent plastic straw regulations, now it is time for more Starbucks branches – and even more big brand names in the food industry to follow the lead.

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Plastic straws are among the top 10 items contributing to marine debris. We produce and utilize 50,000,000 straws every day. By ditching plastic straws, we can make a difference. To find out how you can help the planet by reducing the amount of plastic you use, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: ginnerobot/Flickr

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