Coca-Cola Amatil have announced its plan to phase out plastic drinking straws and stirrers in Australia over the next two months and replace them with fully recyclable and biodegradable paper straws, as part of the company’s efforts to reduce single-use plastics.
The new paper drinking straws will be supplied by BioPak and Austraw and will be made available through Amatil’s ordering platform to around 115,000 outlets nationwide, including grocery, petrol and convenience stores, bars, cafes and quick service restaurants.
“We’ve heard the community message loud and clear – that unnecessary packaging is unacceptable, and we all need to work together to reduce the amount entering litter streams, the environment and the oceans,” said Alison Watkins, group managing director Alison Watkins.
“We are working towards phasing out unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics entirely, through improved design, innovation or the use of recycled alternatives.”
Environmental groups have welcomed the announcement by Coca-Cola Amatil, though they have warned consumers not to be complacent with disposal.
According to Terrie-Ann Johnson, Clean Up Australia’s managing director, Coca-Cola Amatil is doing the right thing and taking a step in the right direction, but it’s also up to consumers to dispose of biodegradable straws properly.
Last year, straws made up nearly 11 per cent of all plastic rubbish reported to Clean Up Australia.
“As rubbish, these items will still cause harm,” Johnson told the Australian Associated Press.
“Compostable waste is the best way to dispose of paper straws, followed by commercial composting or landfill, but in the open they will take longer and cause harm.
“It will still be consumed by birds and animals, while it’s biodegrading out in the environment.”
Eva Mackinley, founder of The Last Straw campaign, told the Australian Associated Press that this recent announcement is an exciting move from one of the world’s largest organisations.
“I’m hoping that the replacement of plastic straws by Coca-Cola goes hand-in-hand with some waste reduction education, as simply replacing one disposable straw with another is still replacing waste with waste,” Mackinley continued.
The company said distribution of the old single-use plastic straws and stirrers will stop once stocks run out over the next two months. The new sustainable straws will be available from February.
The company is also aiming for 100 per cent of its Australian packaging to be fully recyclable by 2025, including all bottles, cans, plastic wraps, straws, glass and cardboard.