Aldi Australia has introduced paper straws on its beverage cartons, most notably in its juice boxes.
The pilot scheme, and subsequent nationwide rollout, aims to drop the plastic popper straws and is expected to divert 18 tonnes of single-use plastic from landfill annually.
Aldi Australia said while the juice popper has been a staple of Aussie recesses since the 1980s, it has also contributed to more than 140 billion plastic straws ending up in Australian landfill over the past 40 years.
ALDI customers in select NSW stores can see the new-look, paper straw sporting Westcliff Tropical Fruit Drink packs this month, with a nationwide rollout of paper straws across the whole beverage carton range set to occur in 2022.
“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. 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 Australia drinks buying director Dan Warner said.
“It’s crucial to us to deliver the best quality at the most affordable prices. When we can do that, make a change that benefits the planet and doesn’t cost our customers more, it’s a no-brainer.”
This announcement follows Aldi Australia’s decision in 2020 to remove single-use plastic tableware from sale in stores, saving 322 tonnes of plastic from landfill, as well as replacing plastic-stemmed cotton buds with a paper-stemmed version.
This move, according to the company, also means that Aldi has achieved its commitment to remove problematic and single-use plastic from its product range, and ensures a new generation of Aussie kids will grow up with paper straws in their hands.
“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,” Warner said.
The new straws have gone through extensive quality assurance testing and measured highly in both integrity and durability, Aldi mentioned, adding that the paper straw is able to puncture packets and maintain a strong shape without softening.
The existing drink cartons are recyclable and while the sleeve around the straw will remain plastic in the interim, it is able to be recycled through soft plastic recycling programs like REDcycle.
“This action is an important step for Aldi and is made possible through the tireless work of our Australian based business partners who also want to make a real difference in plastics reduction,” Warner said.