Greene King has announced it will introduce compostable PLA straws to all 1,750 of its pubs, as part of its ambitious plan to send zero waste to landfill by 2020. It estimates that this will remove over 30 million plastic straws from use per annum.
Earlier in the year, the pub operator removed recyclable plastic straws from the bar, only serving them on demand, which it said has led to a 60% reduction in the use of straws.
Green King worked with its waste partner SWRnewstar to find a closed-loop solution for the PLA straws, where they are segregated from other waste streams in the pub and composted in a commercial facility in as little as 12 weeks. The decomposed straws will be recycled into nutrient-rich soil, according to Greene King, which can then be used to fertilise plants and crops.
Environmental consultancy Footprint carried out an investigation earlier in the year and found that although businesses were looking for sustainable straw solutions, some were failing to actually compost the compostable straws they were using, while others said they had little idea where their recyclable paper straws were ending up.
'Having been on this journey with Greene King, it was refreshing to see the business hold back until an unequivocally water-tight solution was implemented with its waste partner,' said Charles Miers, chief executive of Footprint. 'We’re really looking forward to monitoring the positive results.'