Little Green Panda and Stroh tackle drinking straw issue

Two Australian companies offering competing products, Little Green Panda and Stroh, have joined forces in a bid to eliminate disposable plastic straws from the food service industry by replacing them with compostable, plant-based alternatives made from wheat stems.

Sharing a mutual commitment to eradicating single-use plastics in the retail and hospitality industries, Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu and Teresa Aylott, of Little Green Panda and Strohrespectively, have now become leaders in the plant-based product industry, selling a combined 1.3 million wheat stem straws to seven countries with a growth rate of 250 per cent in monthly sales.

“We are so excited to bring together our knowledge, resources, established relationships and most importantly, our passion, to tackle the pervasive problem of single-use plastics within the retail and hospitality industries. We believe our business is more than just selling sustainable straws, we are driving a movement to reduce waste,” says Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu.

READ MORE: New glass technology to replace straws?

Committed to being a zero waste business, Little Green Panda’s straws are predominantly made from wheat stems, considered an agricultural waste product but when turned into a resource that is 100% compostable, non-toxic, plastic free, gluten free and soggy free, making it a friendly alternative to both the environment and the consumer.

“We want our business to restore and replenish the environment, not deplete it,” says Teresa Aylott.

The company also makes straws from bamboo and sugar cane, with both options compostable and proving to be popular functional alternatives to plastic.

Focusing on the commercial mass use of plastic and paper straws, the duo has already made a mark globally, working with wholesalers and distributors across Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy and Hong Kong with clients including Marriott Hotels, Sofitel, Hilton Hotel, Attica, and Australian Liquor Marketers. Little Green Panda also supplies to 50 supermarkets in France and are in talks with major supermarkets in Australia.

Manufacturing currently takes place on the borders of Mongolia; however, the company is hoping to eventually move the manufacturing process to Australia. Off the back of Global Table, Asia Pacific’s largest international agri-food innovation event where Stroh was an exhibitor, Little Green Panda are now in talks with a major scientific organisation to research the machinery which would allow for local manufacturing as well as farmers around Australia to produce the straws.

Already seeing exponential growth, the company hopes to continue along this trajectory, eventually taking control of the entire supply chain and expanding their sustainable product offering beyond straws.

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.