Greene King launches initiative to remove over 30 million plastic straws each year

Greene King has announced it will introduce compostable PLA straws to replace plastic ones across its entire UK estate.

The 1,750-strong portfolio has pledged to send zero waste to landfill by 2020, with the scheme being a step on the ladder to achieving that goal.

This announcement follows a move earlier this year which saw Greene King remove its recyclable plastic straws from the bar, only serving them on demand.

That decision led to a 60% reduction in the use of straws.

Following work with waste partner, SWRnewstar, the pub retailer and brewer has found a solution to the waste problem.

Following the work, PLA straws will now be segregated in the pub, taken back through its supply chain and decomposed in an ‘In Vessel composter’ (IVC) at a commercial composting facility.

PLA, which is made from plant-based materials such as sugar cane and corn starch, decomposes naturally in a controlled composting environment in 12 weeks, using the same microorganisms that decompose organic materials.

The decomposed straws will be recycled into nutrient-rich soil which can be used to fertilise plants and crops.

Greg Sage, communications director at Greene King, said: “We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and reducing single use plastics in our business. At the beginning of the year we removed our recyclable straws from the bar and provided them only on demand, which saw a 60% reduction, while we looked at a more sustainable alternative.”

He added: “We have taken the time to listen to our customers as we know how important this issue is. Our closed-loop solution will ensure all PLA straws are correctly disposed of and decomposed into nutrient-rich soil, providing peace of mind for our customers who like the choice of a straw with their drink.”

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