The school lunchbox is starting to look a little greener, with ALDI becoming the first supermarket in Australia to ditch plastic straws on poppers. This is part of the budget supermarket’s wider plan to replace plastic straws with recyclable paper straws on all beverage cartons.
ALDI’s eco-friendly move will initially see selected NSW stores ditch ‘problematic’ plastic straws from its Westcliff Tropical Drink packs later this month. Product prices will not change as a result of the switch, according to the supermarket. The change will be rolled to the rest of its private-label beverage cartons nationwide in 2022.
Buying Director for Drinks at ALDI Australia, Dan Warner said: “Juice boxes are a regular in kids’ lunchboxes and we are exceptionally proud to start offering poppers with less plastic at the same low price,” he said.
“Parents on a mission to reduce household waste and their environmental impact can now have peace of mind knowing the drink in their child’s lunchbox contains less plastic, and they aren’t sacrificing convenience or worrying about any impact to their back pockets.”
ALDI has partnered with Aussie-based supplier Tru Blu Beverages and undertaken extensive quality testing to make sure the new paper straws can puncture packets and keep a strong shape without softening.
“Responsibility is one of ALDI’s core values, so when we say we are taking steps to contribute to a more sustainable future, we don’t cut corners to get there. We challenge ourselves to be bold in our commitments, and that means assessing every single component of the supply chain and finding all the ways we can make a positive change,” Mr Warner said.
The latest move is part of ALDI’s 2020 commitment to phase out unnecessary single-use plastics from its homebrand products, which also included replacing plastic-stemmed cotton buds with paper-stemmed alternatives as well as subbing single-use plastic tableware for plates and bowls made from compostable materials.
What are other major supermarkets doing?
Major supermarkets removed single-use plastic shopping bags from circulation in 2018 and rolled out several sustainable initiatives to reduce plastic use.
Woolworths has already removed packs of single-use plastic straws from shelves nationwide, as well as single-use plastic cutlery, cups, bowls, and plates. Woolies said it also ‘improved’ the packaging on more than 550 products like milk bottles, meat trays, bakery items and produce. The supermarket has also committed to making 100% of its homebrand packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by the end of 2023.
Coles similarly ditched plastic bread tags on Coles homebrand bakery items for recyclable paper-based varieties and dumped single-use plastic tableware for good. It also shut shop on its hugely popular, but controversial, Little Shop collectables campaign. The supermarket has also committed to making all Coles Own Brand and Coles Own Liquor Brand packaging 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
Picture credit: Adam, Calaitzis/Shutterstock.com, Golden Shrimp/Shutterstock.com.