In the UK we use 8.5 billion straws per year, that's the equivalent to every single person in the UK using a straw at least twice a week! The plastic crisis has gained some much needed traction over the past few months, thanks in large part to the exposure given to it by Blue Planet II on the BBC... and of course, our hard work here on the Phox blog! 😜
Are We Making Progress?
The collective pressure brought about by the increase in awareness has already started to yield some tangible rewards towards dealing with plastic waste. Just in the past few months, the Scottish Government have taken steps to ban the production of plastic cotton buds, both Scotland & UK Parliaments have set the wheels in motion to setup plastic bottle deposit return schemes and PG Tips have even announced they will stop using heat resistant polypropylene to seal their teabags, replacing it with a plant based, biodegradable alternative.
Change in the Tide
It seems that we are approaching a change in the tide with plastic. More and more people are becoming aware of their plastic use and putting pressure on the brands and companies they use to become more eco conscious. This groundswell of agitation from consumers for brands to adopt more environmentally responsible practices has led to a range of companies taking simple but transformative steps.
We've compiled a list of 10 companies who have taken the decision to ditch plastic straws and some of them may surprise you...
1. JD Wetherspoons
The British pub chain banned the use of plastic straws in its almost 900 bars back in January. They estimate that they were using almost 70 million per year, with it becoming a habit for staff to put a straw in every drink.
Wetherspoons have replaced plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives and to receive one a customer must specifically ask.
The fast food giant may not seem like the most environmentally conscious organisation in the world but they have also taken the step to trial paper straws beginning in May this year.
McDonald's says its straws are already 100% recyclable but customers requested to have to ask for them instead of being automatically given one. You may notice that straws now have to requested, which should result in a big drop in consumption given the volume of outlets across the country.
3. Pizza Express
Perhaps the best story behind a change in straw policy comes from Pizza Express. They took the step to replace plastic straws after 5 year old customer Ava wrote a letter express-ing (pardon the pun) her concerns about the effect of straws on animal welfare.
It's a pretty good PR story for the company too and they intend on acting on it by introducing only biodegradable straws from Summer 2018 onwards. Well done Ava!
Did you see the letter that 5 year old Ava wrote to Pizza Express to ask them to stop giving her a plastic straw with her drink? It's GOLD! 🍕✨Check out our article here: https://t.co/xa5VQYGWGr pic.twitter.com/XinhTJoV2m— #WeAreTearfund (@WeAreTearfund) 18 February 2018
Everyone's favourite Japanese-based cuisine chain has also joined the trend of ditching plastic straws.
Starting on Earth Day (April 22nd) the company will replace plastic straws with biodegradable paper alternatives and mirror the step taking by others only offering them after a customer request.
The coffee giant announced in January that it will also replace plastic straws this year and switch to a biodegradable alternative. This is another example of where people power has put the brand under pressure to adopt more eco-friendly practices and they have also stated their intent to review their takeaway coffee cups.
6. All Bar One
Trailblazers in the ditching plastic straws business, All Bar One were one of the first companies listed here to abandon use of plastic straws. A year ahead of some others, the bar chain began phasing out plastic straws midway through last year.
They even used a hashtag (#strawssuck) to help increase exposure and allow others to follow suit...
7. Pret a Manger
The international coffee and sandwich franchise has been very active in reducing its plastic footprint recently and ditching plastic straws wasn't the only measure they took.
Along with beginning to integrate paper straws in January, Pret have also started a 50p discount for any customer who brings their own reusable coffee cup, as an incentive to reduce consumption of their standard takeaway cups.
8. The Deltic Group
The Deltic Group is the biggest owner and operator of premium bars & nightclubs in the UK and took the decision to remove plastic straws from all of its venues in March as part of its #NoStrawsAttached campaign (we like that!).
The Group owns brands all across the UK, including Bar & Beyond in Bristol and Atik in Edinburgh.
Barcardi began its 'No Straw Movement' back in 2016, which is a long time ago in the context of big brands banning plastic straws. The Spirits giant decided to remove plastic straws from all of its corporate events in March of that year.
Barcardi's straw movement was part of its wider award-winning 'Good Spirited' campaign which was aimed at reducing its environmental impact in sourcing, packaging and operations.
Like Barcardi, another behemoth in the drinks industry Diageo committed to phasing out plastic straws and stirrers from January this year.
They intend to remove both of these items across their whole operation this year.
Get in Touch!
Do you know of any other brands who are ditching plastic straws?