Following the news released in January to ban the use of non-biodegradable plastic straws and stirrers across its entire global business, Pernod Ricard USA has made another step forward in helping reduce the amount of plastic used in the food and drink industry.

The French beverage giant has announced the collaboration with a start-up, Loliware, which has created compostable and edible straws. Made with a seaweed-based material which appears very similar to plastic, these straws could be available in a fruit flavour or enriched with nutrients.

Pernod Ricard’s announcement follows other manufacturer and distributors operating in the drinks category, such as Bacardi and Diageo, which have adopted similar strategies within their companies.

With the war on plastic calling for manufacturers and retailers to embrace a responsible approach towards environmental issues, ‘green’ initiatives and more sustainable policies have been adopted by the main operators in the food and drinks industry. Thus, for example, in the UK, Iceland has committed to eliminating plastic packaging for all its own brand products within the next five years or in Italy where a government levy has been introduced for payment of plastic fruit and vegetable bags in supermarkets.

Plastic straws have been in the spotlight for a while due to their disposable attributes and the amount of time they take to break down. Thus, being massively used in everyday life, governments have announced to ban straws from sales in restaurant, pubs and supermarkets, such as in the UK, and companies are moving to actively tackle their use.

However, Pernod Ricard’s initiative shows that a ban and levy can tackle environmental issues, but proactively seeking out partnerships with companies supplying alternatives to plastic is a win-win strategy and another step further in the adoption of more sustainable practices.

Being a start-up, Loliware could benefit from the coverage and visibility that a multinational manufacturer can offer; while the implementation of sustainable alternatives into the business could increase Pernod Ricard brand awareness among consumers from a social responsibility perspective, which is not any longer an option but more an essential strategy in order to operate worldwide.

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