ALDI is proud to announce it is the first supermarket in Australia to introduce paper straws on beverage cartons, most notably the humble and nostalgic juice box, or “popper”.
The pilot scheme, and subsequent nationwide rollout, to drop the plastic popper straws is expected to divert 18 tonnes of single-use plastic from landfill annually – that’s 2 kilos per hour!
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,” said Dan Warner, Buying Director for Drinks at ALDI Australia.
“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.”
A plastic straw is used on average for 15-20 minutes**, but it can take up to 200 years to degrade!***
This announcement follows ALDI Australia’s industry-leading 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. A move recently followed by other major supermarkets this year.
This announcement means 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,” continued Mr Warner.
DOES A PAPER STRAW BELONG ON A POPPER?
The new straws have gone through extensive quality assurance testing and measured highly in both integrity and durability. 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.
THE FINAL STRAW
The paper straw program forms part of ALDI’s goal to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging across its own-label range by 25% by 2025. ALDI’s Plastics and Packaging commitments are just some of several sustainability initiatives in place across the business and its supply chain. By 2025, ALDI aims to send zero waste to landfill, which includes a goal to achieve zero food waste sent to landfill by 2023. This year the supermarket also announced it is 100 per cent powered with renewable electricity.
ALDI’s 2020 Plastics and Packaging Progress Report can be viewed here.
THE JUICE IS WORTH THE SQUEEZE
A lot of work, planning and innovation by ALDI’s supplier business partners went into delivering this initiative. The change in packaging for the pilot scheme juice boxes will be achieved with the support of its Australian-based supplier business partner, Tru Blu Beverages.
“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,” continued Mr Warner.
“We want to provide every Australian with a quality product at an affordable price and strive for environmentally sustainable manufacturing and packaging solutions,” said Peter Brooks, CEO, Tru Blu Beverages.
“Much like us, ALDI has a focus on eradicating unnecessary plastics across the whole supply chain. Every piece of plastic removed from the environment, no matter how small, is a positive change and actions like this can have a big impact.”
* Cleanup Australia (2018) Plastic Straw Bans Won’t Solve The Pollution Crisis, But It’s A Start, https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/plastic-straw-bans-wont-solve-pollution-crisis-its-start/
** Clean Up Australia (2021) Straws no more, https://www.cleanup.org.au/straws-no-more
*** WWF Australia (2018) The lifecycle of plastics, https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/the-lifecycle-of-plastics#:~:text=Plastic%20straws%20%E2%80%93%20200%20years,to%20200%20years%20to%20decompose