In one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind (and let’s not forget the turtles!) Whole Foods Market has announced they are officially banning plastic straws as of July. Global leaders in the health and wellness market place, Whole Foods Market will be the first grocer across the US, UK and Canada to make this change, following in the wake of their plastic bag ban, alongside other leading supermarkets Coles and Woolworths in Australia.
Outside of the Whole Foods Market stores, their additional venues which include Allegro coffee bars, juice bars and cafes will also be introducing the ban, with all offering paper straws (that are certified recyclable and compostable) instead of single use plastic straws. Contributing to the ban was a study conducted by Whole Foods Market that found by switching to paper straws, smaller produce bags and bags to replace hard rotisserie containers, it could not only use reduce 70 per cent of plastic currently used but also cut an estimated 800,000 pounds of plastic in total a year.
With sustainability at the forefront of their focus, according to Whole Foods Market President and Chief Merchandising Officer A.C. Gallo, it’s come as a natural progression for the company. “For almost 40 years, caring for the environment has been central to our mission and how we operate,” says Gallo. “We recognise that single-use plastics are a concern for many of our customers, team members, and suppliers so [in addition to this] we will continue to look for opportunities to further reduce plastic across our stores.” No strangers to environmental progression, this is the latest feat in the already progressive Whole Food Markets sustainability movement, having been the first grocer to ditch disposable plastic bags and eliminate styrofoam meat trays for compostable salad boxes.
With 500 stores worldwide—the latest opening in Atlanta just last month—it can be seen as pivotal and progressive step towards helping the planet and encouraging other leading grocers and retailers to follow in their footsteps. While plastic straws will still be available upon request for customers with disabilities, for the average consumer, you can expect to be sipping your smoothies through paper straws very soon!