Ribena trials paper straws on cartons in bid to reduce plastic waste

Bend with the times: A first look at the new paper straw. (Ribena)
A first look at the new paper straw. (Ribena)

Ribena will become the first major UK juice drinks brand to trial paper straws on cartons, doing away with the plastic ones the brand has used previously.

In a bid to cut plastic waste, the brand aims to prevent up to 16 tonnes of plastic from being produced each year.

McDonald’s came under fire last year after it confirmed its new “eco-friendly” paper straws could not be recycled because the thickness of the paper wouldn’t fit through waste solution systems.

Ribena has made clear that theirs are 100% recyclable.

Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I - the makers of Ribena and Lucozade - told Yahoo UK that a good tip is to “push the straw back into the carton when finished so that it can all be recycled together - otherwise the straws can fall through the gaps when they get to the recycling centre”.

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The bendable straws are available on new packs of Ribena - which are currently being trialled in Tesco.

The straws are still encased in a plastic wrapper, but the brand plans to release an alternative to this soon.

The government has outlined a ban on single-use straws, beginning in October - the plan was delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It only applies to straws that aren’t attached to drinks. Drinks brands with plastic straws attached to their drinks - as in the case of Ribena - have until July 2021 to come up with alternative solutions before they are banned, too.

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Jo Padwick, business transformation manager at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I believes it’s a joint effort between brands and local authorities to encourage people to recycle drinks cartons more frequently.

She added: “We’ve conducted hours of consumer testing to make sure our new paper straws can puncture the carton, that they don’t become soggy, and that Ribena lovers enjoy the feel of sipping from them.

“Now that they’re on shelves in Tesco we can gather even more feedback before rolling the straws out more widely.”

James Bull, Tesco’s head of packaging, said, “We are working with our suppliers to remove and reduce as much packaging as we can, reuse more, and to make sure everything that’s left is recycled.

“It’s vital that all products become recyclable as quickly as possible, so we’re delighted that Ribena are redesigning the packaging on sale in our stores and cutting down on hard to recycle plastics.”