British pub retailer and brewer Greene King is set to introduce compostable polylactic acid (PLA) straws across its 1,750 pubs in a move to reduce waste and send zero waste to landfill by 2020.
PLA is made using plant-based materials such as sugar cane and corn starch, which decomposes naturally in a controlled composting environment inside 12 weeks. The use of PLA straws is expected to eliminate more than 30 million plastic straws every year.
The announcement follows the pub chain’s decision to remove its recyclable plastic straws from the bar and to serve them only on demand.
Greene King communications director Greg Sage said: “We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and reducing single use plastics in our business.
“At the beginning of the year we removed our recyclable straws from the bar and provided them only on demand, which saw a 60% reduction, while we looked at a more sustainable alternative.
“We have taken the time to listen to our customers as we know how important this issue is. Our closed-loop solution will ensure all PLA straws are correctly disposed of and decomposed into nutrient-rich soil, providing peace of mind for our customers who like the choice of a straw with their drink.”
In addition, the company has partnered with its waste partner, SWRnewstar, to collect the PLA straws from the pubs to decompose them in ‘In Vessel composter’ (IVC) at a commercial composting facility.
The company will recycle the decomposed straws into nutrient-rich soil used to fertilise plants and crops.