Costa Coffee will remove plastic drinking straws from its stores this year and replace them with a more environmentally friendly alternative, the coffee chain announced this week.
The move follows pledges by Wagamama and Pret A Manger this week to cut down on plastic straws. On Tuesday, Waitrose announced it would stop selling them altogether by September, while Iceland went further by committing to removing all plastic from its own-brand products within five years.
“Last year we removed straws from our condiment units and now serve them on request only,” said Jason Cotta, Costa’s UK managing director.
“We will launch a non-plastic alternative straw this year as part of an on-going review into all our packaging and takeaway cups,” he added.
The announcement comes on the same day Costa’s owner Whitbread posted a trading update, warning that the decline in footfall across high streets was hurting its coffee shop business. Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said the company expects this trend to continue “for some time”.
Costa like-for-like sales, which compares only branches that were open in both periods, sales dropped 1.5 per cent in the 13 weeks to the end of November, compared to the comparable period last year.
The move to ditch plastic straws comes as businesses come under increasing pressure to lessen their environmental impact.
“For decades plastic straws have been handed out like there’s no tomorrow – sadly for some marine creatures a straw in the gullet means there has been no tomorrow.
Our message is if you’re a business, stop handing them out, unless it’s absolutely necessary; and if you’re a consumer, just say no,” said Laura Parry of the Marine Conservation Society.
The Government’s environmental strategy, unveiled this month, has come under fire for not doing enough to tackle the issue of plastic waste. It sets a goal of eliminating “avoidable plastic waste” by 2042 and is not backed by legislation.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies