Coca-Cola Amatil will no longer distribute single-use plastic straws and stirrers in Australia, amid growing environmental concerns about their impact.
The beverage manufacturer will switch to paper straws from BioPak and Austraw, which will be fully recyclable, biodegradable, and FSC accredited.
According to Alison Watkins, group managing director, the move is part of CCA’s push to reduce its use of single-use plastic.
“We’re serious about playing our part in reducing unnecessary plastic packaging,” said Watkins.
“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.”
Distribution of existing single-use plastic stocks will wind down as stocks run out over the next two months, with the new products available from February. CCA plans to make all of its packaging recyclable by 2025.
“We are working towards phasing out unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics entirely, through improved design, innovation or the use of recycled alternatives,” said Watkins.
Campaigns against plastic straws have met with pushback from the disabled community, however, who point out that many alternatives can be dangerous, expensive, and difficult for people with disabilities to use.
On its website, advocacy group People With Disability Australia claims an outright ban would be harmful, and campaigners should listen to those who would be adversely affected.
“Instead of a ban, people who don’t want to use plastic straws should be able to say so when they are buying a drink,” the group said. “Then plastic straws will be available for people with disability, so we can have access to safe ways to have a drink just like everyone else.”
Coca-Cola Amatil has been contacted for comment.