Get ready to say goodbye to plastic straws, Whole Foods shoppers, the supermarket chain has officially announced that it will be the first national grocer to eliminate the product from its stores.
By July, the retailer announced that it will remove plastic straws from all Whole Foods-operated venues. This includes Allegro coffee bars, juice bars and cafes.
The ban includes all of the grocer’s locations throughout the United States as well as Canada and the United Kingdom.
As a more sustainable alternative to plastic straws, officials say, Whole Foods employees will offer paper straws with frozen drinks or on request. Plastic straws will continue to be available for customers with disabilities.
The paper straws offered will be Forest Stewardship Council certified. They are also recyclable and compostable.
Whole Foods representatives say they will also be replacing their hard plastic rotisserie chicken containers with new bags that use about 70 percent less plastic as part of the brand’s ongoing plastic reduction efforts. Earlier this year, the retailer began using smaller plastic bags in its produce department.
“For almost 40 years, caring for the environment has been central to our mission and how we operate,” said President and Chief Merchandising Officer A.C. Gallo in a statement. “We recognize that single-use plastics are a concern for many of our customers, team members and suppliers, and we’re proud of these packaging changes, which will eliminate an estimated 800,000 pounds of plastics annually.”
Whole Foods notes that in 2008, it became the first U.S. grocer to end the use of disposable plastic bags at the checkouts of each of its stores. It also recently eliminated polystyrene/styrofoam meat trays at all locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“We will continue to look for additional opportunities to further reduce plastic across our stores,” said Gallo.
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