Starbucks is by no means the biggest offender when it comes to the casting of plastic as a solution to our plastics problem — or the dissemination of plastic waste. Though some of the company’s cups and lids have been collected in beach cleanups around the world, far more trash can be traced back to other companies, such as Unilever, PepsiCo, and Proctor & Gamble, according to a brand audit conducted by organization Break Free From Plastic.

With its pledge to stop using plastic straws in more than 30,000 stores by next year, Starbucks is ahead of other fast food companies, most of which have made no real progress in addressing their contribution to the plastic pollution problem.

But the company’s glowing rhetoric about its sustainability practices, including its “greener cups and packaging initiative,” has invited sometimes unfavorable comparisons with reality. In 2008, for instance, as part of Starbucks’s “Shared Planet” initiative, then-CEO Howard Schultz pledged that 25 percent of Starbucks cups would be reusable by 2015. More than 10 years later, less than 2 percent of its drinks are sold in reusable cups.

In March, the shareholder activist group As You Sow put forward a resolution to push the company to recommit to its reusable cup goal and, more generally, to step up the scale and pace of its sustainable packaging initiatives.

The resolution, which noted that Starbucks has helped foster “a wasteful ‘to go’ disposable coffee cup culture,” passed by more than 44 percent.