Whole Foods to Curb Plastic Straw Use by July 2019

Whole Foods can't seem to stay out of the news—the grocery store made its third round of price cuts in April (which mainly affected produce, and not as much “center of store” items), has a spring rosé sale with select bottles under $10, and now accepts Bitcoin, apparently. The latest? On Monday, the brand announced that it will eliminate plastic straws from stores in the U.S., U.K., and Canada by July 2019, claiming that it will be the first national grocery chain to do so.

"For almost 40 years, caring for the environment has been central to our mission and how we operate," A.C. Gallo, president and chief merchandising officer at Whole Foods Market, said in a statement. "We recognize that single-use plastics are a concern for many of our customers, Team Members and suppliers, and we’re proud of these packaging changes, which will eliminate an estimated 800,000 pounds of plastics annually. We will continue to look for additional opportunities to further reduce plastic across our stores."

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Plastic straws will be removed from "Whole Foods Market-operated venues" such as coffee bars, cafés, and juice bars. As an alternative, recyclable paper straws will be available with frozen drinks and upon request—customers with disabilities still have the option to use a plastic straw, according to a statement. You’ll also find that the produce department has smaller plastic bags, and rotisserie chickens will come in bags instead of hard plastic containers, which will use "approximately 70 percent less plastic."

Whole Foods isn’t the only grocery store making changes; earlier this year, Trader Joe’s announced a slew of goals for reducing plastic packaging. The chain intends to reduce the number of produce items sold in plastic packages (i.e. apples, potatoes, and pears), wrap flower bouquets in renewable bags (as opposed to plastic), and remove non-recyclable plastic and foil pouches from tea packages. To learn more about the store’s plans, check out the full story.

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