The movement to ban straws and other single-use plastics to protect our environment is growing. So far, 127 countries and counting are working to enact bans on single-use plastics, including straw bans. The E.U. plans to be done with most single-use plastics, including straws, by 2021. Cities like Seattle made the move last year, and Los Angeles is mulling a ban, too.
Companies are getting in on the action. Alaska Airlines announced a plan to ditch plastic straws, followed by American Airlines, Starbucks, and others. Now, Whole Foods is getting in on the straw-free fun in a bid to cut plastic use in their grocery stores.
Come July 2019, the green-leaning grocer, which was purchased by Amazon in 2017, is doing away with disposable plastic straws in its stores in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, the company announced today. It’s believed they are the first national grocer in the U.S. to do so.
While straws aren’t a cornerstone of Whole Foods’ business, they are used at the chain’s Allegro coffee bars, juice bars, and cafes. Now that Whole Foods has realized that plastic straws are largely unnecessary, customers will be offered recyclable, compostable paper straws instead. However, Whole Foods said plastic straws will still be available for customers living with disabilities.
The straw ban isn’t the only plastic-reducing step that the Austin-based chain is taking. It has reduced the size of its plastic produce bags and is switching how it sells its popular rotisserie chicken, swapping out hard plastic containers for bags that contain 70% less plastic. These packaging changes will cut down on an estimated 800,000 pounds of plastic per year.