Coca-Cola joins straw ban bandwagon

Coca Cola Amatil has announced it would no longer distribute plastic drinking  straws or stirrers  in Australia, and would instead  stock fully recyclable and biodegradable FSC- accredited (Forest Stewardship Council) paper straws.

Group managing director, Alison Watkins, said the decision was another step forward in the company’s efforts to reduce single use plastics.

“We’re serious about playing our part in reducing unnecessary plastic packaging,” Watkins said.

“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.

“The new paper drinking straws will be sourced from suppliers BioPak and Austraw and 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.”

Distribution of the old single-use plastic drinking straws and stirrers would cease as stocks run out over the next two months.

The new sustainable paper straws would be available from February. Work was continuing on sustainable solutions for straws on Tetra Pak-supplied packaging, as well as for plastic spoons and scoops used with frozen drinks.

Watkins said the intention was for 100 per cent of Coca Cola Amatil’s Australian packaging to be fully recyclable by 2025, including all bottles, cans, plastic wrap, straws, glass and cardboard.

“We are working towards phasing out unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics entirely, through improved design, innovation or the use of recycled alternatives,” Watkins said.

Last year, Coca Cola Amatil announced that by 2020 it would:

  • improve water intensity for non-alcoholic beverages to no more than 1.95L/L and target a 25 per cent improvement in water efficiency for alcoholic beverages (compared to 2013) and food (compared to 2010).
  • reduce the carbon footprint of the ‘drink in your hand’ by 25 per cent (compared to 2010).
  • use at least 60 per cent renewable or low carbon energy in its operations.
  • develop the business case for a weighted average of 50 per cent recycled plastic in PET containers across the Australian portfolio, including carbonated soft drinks.
  • screen 80 per cent of supplier spend using responsible sourcing criteria.

This is in addition to existing commitments on plastics and packaging  reduction, including the aspiration of “World Without Waste” a Coca Cola Company goal to collect and recycle one  bottle or can for every one produced, worldwide, by 2030.

The Coca Cola Company is also developing sustainable packaging goals to increase the recycled content in plastic bottles, and supports recycling programs in Australia.