Ribena: U.K. Soft Drinks Giant Ditch Plastic Straws, Opt For 100% Recyclable Paper Ones

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U.K.-based soft drinks giant Ribena has recently announced that it will be permanently ditching plastic straws and will instead use recyclable paper straws.

Ribena has decided to completely stop manufacturing plastic straws for its cartons and has switched to 100% recyclable paper ones.

Back in spring 2020, the company held a trial of the paper straws in Tesco stores and the response was quite positive with customers commenting that they “love the new addition of a cardboard straw instead of the usual plastic ones you get” and “it creates far less plastic waste and is better for the environment”. Another customer said that “the straw was strong enough to pierce the hole effectively and that it didn’t go soggy when they were drinking from the carton”.

Given the successful trial, new straws will be rolled out in April across all Ribena’s products.

Owner of the brand, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, a global company managing businesses in the F&B category, said that this switch will save up to 16 tonnes of plastic from the supply chain each year.”The plastic straws being used by the brand were recyclable but faced difficulties largely due to their size. If people don’t push the straw back into the carton when finished, it can get lost in the recycling process, often falling through gaps on recycling centre sorting bells.”

The plastic straws being used by the brand were recyclable, but faced difficulies “largely due to their size”. If people don’t push the straw back into the carton when finished, it can get lost in the recycling process, often falling through gaps on recycling centre sorting bells

Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, Owner, Ribena

Jo Padwick, transformation manager at SBF GB&I, said of the switch: “It is great to see our years of hard work getting such positive reviews from Ribena drinkers. We have taken into account all of the feedback to help us improve the new paper straw that is now being launched on the range across all stores. Saying goodbye to the final plastic straw is a great step on our journey towards 100% sustainable packaging by 2030.”

This news follows the GBP£1.6M (approx. US$2.2m)relaunch for Ribena back in November of last year, which saw the drink’s decision to use bottles that are made from 100% recycled plastic and are 100% bottle-to-bottle recyclable, reducing the company’s plastic sleeves by 50% and also contribute to being easily detected by the U.K.s recycling system.

Speaking about the company’s plans going ahead, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I said that Ribena is now working “to develop a hygienic wrapper for the new straws from alternative materials that will still stand up to the rigours of rucksacks and refrigerators.”

Tesco’s head of packaging James Bull said that supermarkets and brands need to work together to remove and reduce unnecessary and excessive plastic. “They need to reuse more and make sure everything that’s left is recycled. Our door remains firmly open for other brands who want to test and learn new ways to use less plastic.” 

Several brands have come forward to tackle the plastic crisis for instance, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) recently announced that it will achieve 100% plastic waste collection this calendar year meaning that it will collect and process more plastic packaging waste than the company’s own plastic usage.

Back in 2019, in an effort to reduce single-use amenities in bathrooms from all their hotels, Marriott International decided to replace the mini disposable toiletries with large refillable pump bottles.

Even countries are doing their part to reduce plastic waste, such as China with its recent ban on single-use plastic straws and shopping bags in major cities in an effort to reduce the increasing plastic waste in the country.

Earlier last year, Thailand also announced that it would ban single-use plastics in major stores with 2021 seeing an overall ban and in Singapore, an initiative by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) saw over 300,000 bags being saved every month.


Lead image courtesy of Ribena.

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