Ribena trialling paper straws to reduce plastic usage

The change will be rolled out for feedback in Tesco stores

Charley Ross
Wednesday 23 September 2020 14:55 BST

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Ribena has reportedly become the first major UK drinks brand to trial 100 per cent recyclable paper straws, in a bid to reduce its plastic usage.

According to Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland, the company that owns Ribena, this move will prevent up to 16 tonnes of plastic being produced a year, and tackle plastic packaging that is not commonly recycled. 

For instance, plastic straws are hard to recycle because of their size.

The paper straws are due to be trialled in its “blackcurrant no added sugar” cartons sold in Tesco stores – and will still be packaged in plastic until the company can find a suitable (more sustainable) alternative.

“Further improving the recyclability of our cartons is an important step in achieving our 100 per cent sustainable packaging by 2030 ambition” Jo Padwick, Suntory’s business transformation manager, says.

“Now that they’re on shelf in Tesco we can gather even more feedback before rolling the straws out more widely".

This comes ahead of the government’s planned ban on single straws from October – which was delayed due to the pandemic – and a ban in July next year will come into force for on-pack straws.

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Tesco have confirmed that they are working with their suppliers to “remove and reduce as much packaging as we can, reuse more, and to make sure everything that’s left is recycle,” according to the supermarket’s head of packaging, James Bull.

“It’s vital that all products become recyclable as quickly as possible, so we’re delighted that Ribena are redesigning the packaging on sale in our stores and cutting down on hard to recycle plastics,” he says.

But according to environmental campaigning organisation Friends of the Earth, ending the use of plastic straws is “only a tiny part of the plastic pollution problem”.

“Billions of plastic straws are used across the country every year, adding to the waves of plastic pollution that blight our environment and threaten our wildlife,” Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth’s plastic campaigner told The Independent.

“Companies across the county must rapidly move to end their use of plastic straws. A ban on single plastic straws in England that begins next month, is due to be extended to on-pack straws next July.

“The government must amend the Environment Bill to include legally-binding targets to cut the use of plastic materials from all sources.”

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