German supermarket group REWE has announced that itsREWE, Penny, and Toom Baumarkt banners have stopped selling plastic straws in-store, making them the first retailers in Germany to do so.
Beginning in the spring of 2019, wheatgrass, stainless steel, and FSC/PEFC-certified paper straws will be offered at 6,000 outlets instead.
This move is expected to cut down on the use of more than 42 million disposable straws per year.
Plastic Waste A Threat
In Germany, nearly 4.8 billion plastic straws are thrown away, according to the organisation Seas at Risk, ranking plastic straws third in the disposable products most commonly discarded in Germany.
REWE has been working on reducing plastic waste by phasing out unnecessary packaging for its products in recent years. For example, in 2017 the group announced that it had stopped selling bananas packaged in plastic film.
REWE has taken other steps to become more sustainable as well. “In 2016, we began gradually eliminating plastic shopping bags from allREWE stores, followed by Penny and Toom Baumarkt, which saved more than 200 million bags a year in Germany alone,” said Torsten Stau, the general manager of non-food merchandise atREWE Group, in a press release.
Own-Brand Packaging Shift
The company is currently scrutising its own-brand packaging. Its goal, according to the release, is a complete shift in all of its private-label packaging to more environmentally friendly versions by the year 2030.
"We are working hard to eliminate unnecessary packaging, reduce packaging, or make it more environmentally friendly, but seeing as each product has different packaging requirements, we need to look at each item individually," Dirk Heim, the head of bio & sustainability commodity atREWE Group, commented.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Padideh Aghanoury. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.