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Disposable cups started as a way to prevent the spread of cholera and diphtheria

If you’ve visited a restaurant in recent months, there’s a good chance you’ve learned about the new enemy that has emerged in the fight against plastic waste: the single-use plastic straw.

Starbucks SBUX, -0.14% on Monday announced it will eliminate all single-use plastic straws in its stores by 2020. Instead, drinks that usually come with straws will have strawless lids or straws made from some type of alternative material.

The company isn’t alone. The cruise line Royal Caribbean RCL, +0.04% announced in June it will stop using plastic straws by the end of 2018. And several cities, including Seattle, Miami Beach and San Luis Obispo, Calif.

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