Are plastic straws a thing of the past?


Like most people, I’ve been guilty of taking the ‘easy’ option on many an occasion. A takeaway coffee in a plastic cup; forgetting my bags at the supermarket so using the plastic bags (usually to carry something that’s already wrapped in plastic), and of course the endless plastic containers that seem to grow, lose lids and ultimately spill out of the drawer that’s supposed to be there to make life easier.

There’s a lot of talk about plastic, and if you listen properly, you’ll know that it’s actually pretty terrifying, what we’ve done to our oceans. Researchers are finding plastics dating back over 50 years that are still whole – they don’t break down. And the latest figures show that if we don’t do something about it, our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050. Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit environmental advocacy group, estimates that eight million metric tonnes of plastics enter the ocean each year, on top of the estimated 150 million metric tonnes that currently circulate the planet. 

It’s a figure that scares me, for sure – my kids won’t even be my age by then, and they may not have safe oceans for fish. I’m trying to do my bit, and every little helps, but the bigger companies have to come to the party too. And many of them are.

The Coffee Club New Zealand, one of the country’s largest and fastest growing café brands, has announced that it will no longer be using plastic straws. From today, September 10th, The Coffee Club’s 63 stores will be using Eco Straws instead, a paper straw that is 100% recyclable and compostable.

The move will eliminate nearly one million plastic straws annually (898,000).

“Like many of our customers, we are concerned about the negative environmental impact of plastic straws being disposed of irresponsibly,” explains The Coffee Club Co-Director, Andy Lucas. “Earlier this year, we stopped using straws for many drinks that simply didn’t need one, which reduced our straw usage dramatically. Moving to a non-plastic straw for the remaining drinks will allow us to further reduce waste and minimize the impact that our stores have on the environment.

With the commitment to eliminating plastic straws from its stores, The Coffee Club joins the ranks of other New Zealand organisations and brands working to reduce the use of single-use plastic, such as Bird on a Wire, Countdown, Burger Wisconsin and Mexicali Fresh.