In Earth Lovers, News

Today, on World Environment Day (05 June 2018), Food Lover’s Market is saying ‘no’ to plastic straws.

The fresh produce retailer is launching the Withdraw The Straw campaign and will be rolling out a campaign of replacing all plastic straws with paper ones, in its stores nationally.

With more than 1 million single-use plastic straws being discarded around the world on a daily basis, the fresh produce retailer is joining the campaign against plastic straws by implementing a “paper straw upon request” policy.

Says Andrew Millson, Head of Sustainability for the Food Lover’s Market Group, “The Withdraw the Straw project is in line with the philosophy of sustainable values, that embraces our responsibility to the environment.  The facts around plastic straws are shocking and its one of the most common items found during beach clean ups. As they are lightweight and easily blown away by the wind, they often end up in our marine waters. Animals – such as seagulls and turtles – ingest these plastics which can lead to their deaths.”

The campaign aligns perfectly with other sustainability practices implemented by the retailer, such as offering recyclable boxes to shoppers instead of bags and the planned national rollout of paper bags in Food Lover’s Market stores in July. As of July, shoppers will have a choice of purchasing a paper bag or a box for their purchases, instead of a plastic bag.

Food Lover’s Market is passionate about protecting the environment and limiting plastic straw usage is merely another step in our journey to sustainability. Our next step will be to introduce paper bags as an option to shoppers, in addition to the recyclable boxes we have in store.”

Why consumers should think twice before asking for a straw –

  • More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are already floating in our oceans.
  • Worldwide, 73 percent of beach litter is plastic: filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers.
  • As of 2015, more than 6.9 billion tons of plastic waste had been generated. Around 9 percent of that was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated, and 79 percent accumulated in landfills or environment.
  • Some 700 species of marine animals have been reported so far to have eaten or become entangled in plastic.
  • More than 40 percent of plastic is used just once, then tossed.

The main threat that plastic straws pose is to marine life. It is reported that 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually due to plastic debris and plastic straws are among the top 10 debris found during coastal clean ups. Moreover, plastic straws can take up to 200 years to degrade.While Food Lover’s Market has introduced a paper version, Millson wants to remind shoppers that the best way to support a plastic straw ban is to refuse the straw completely.

The Withdraw the Straw campaign follows on from Food Lover’s Market’s Hunger Month campaign in May, which sought to raise funds to feed vulnerable families through Food Forward SA. The campaign, partnered by Rugani Carrots, Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing and Simpl. Fruit Juices, was the second annual event of its kind and included Food Lover’s Market donating 1% of its overall sales on World Hunger Day on 28 May 2018.