Greene King to introduce compostable straws in UK pubs
Greene King is taking its efforts to reduce plastic waste to the next level by introducing compostable straws in its 1,750 pubs across the UK.
The Bury St Edmunds-based brewer came up with the solution to use PLA straws, which are made from plant-based materials such as sugar cane and corn starch, during talks with environmental consultant SWRnewstar.
The straws will be segregated in the pub, taken back through its supply chain and decomposed in an 'in vessel composter' at a commercial composing facility.
The process will take as little as 12 weeks and will use the same micro-organisms that decompose organic materials. The decomposed straws will then be recycled into nutrient-rich soil to be used as a plant and crop fertiliser.
Greg Sage, communications director, said: “We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and reducing single use plastics in our business.
“We have taken the time to listen to our customers as we know how important the 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.”
The move is part of the Greene King’s pledge to send zero waste to landfill by 2020. It comes after the brewer’s decision earlier this year to remove recyclable plastic straws from its bars and only serve them upon request, which saw a 60 per cent reduction in straw use.
Andy Butler, chief executive of SWRnewstar, said: “Over the last five years we have worked very closely with Greene King in a number of innovative ways and in so doing have helped them stay at the leading edge of both distribution models and the environment agenda within the hospitality industry.
“We are proud to be part of the PLA straw closed loop solution which is the latest example of our successful collaboration.”