With plastic waste in our oceans reaching epic proportions, the search for more renewable straws has become a major concern for businesses and consumers around the world
Few images have sparked as much controversy surrounding plastic waste as that of a marine biologist removing a straw from a sea turtle’s nostril. The video in question went viral in 2018 and has now been viewed over 33 million times on YouTube, sparking a huge global debate over the use of single-use plastics and their impact on our oceans.
It’s estimated that in the US alone, over half a billion plastic straws are thrown away every day. And while straws make up just 0.025% of the eight million tons of plastic which ends up in our seas every year, that hasn’t stopped straws from becoming a very visible symbol of the world’s plastic problem. In fact, the outcry surrounding plastic straws has now reached a watershed moment.
All over the world, major companies and organisations are beginning to ban or phase out plastic straws due to mounting public pressure. And as the food and beverage industry is at the heart of this movement, SIG has been working hard to find a viable alternative to the conventional plastic straw.
We’ve researched a wide range of options to find one that best meets the needs of customers, consumers and our planet. These options have included edible straws made from plant-based materials such as seaweed and fruit. Natural and fully biodegradable, many view these types of straw as a unique added value for products.
But for our first alternative straw, we chose to create a brand new paper straw for beverage cartons. For a company where paperboard made from renewable wood has always been the main material in its products, selecting paper straws felt like a natural choice for us and a perfect fit for our already sustainable packaging.
The potential of paper
Our new paper straws will be made of paperboard from FSCTM (Forest Stewardship CouncilTM) certified forests or other controlled sources. Producers can already include the FSCTM label on any SIG carton and will be able to add the label to our paper straws once our manufacturing partner has completed FSCTM Chain-of-Custody certification. This is expected during the second half of 2019.
We worked closely with our manufacturing partner to develop an innovative and exclusive solution that makes the paper straw robust enough to pierce the closed straw hole of our aseptic cartons. And the wrapper for the straw has been redesigned to help prevent litter by remaining attached to the pack so it can be recycled along with the rest of the carton.
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