Ribena says goodbye to plastic straws

Ribena is the first major juice drinks brand in the UK to introduce paper straws

Following a successful trial that made Ribena the first major juice drinks brand in the UK to introduce paper straws, Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I (SBF GB&I) is now making the 100 per cent recyclable paper alternative available on every carton, across all stores.

The trial of the paper straws began exclusively in Tesco stores in May 2020 and brand owner SBF GB&I is now making the paper straws a permanent feature on its Ribena cartons. This will save up to 16 tonnes of plastic from being produced per year in another step towards the company’s ambition to reach 100 per cent sustainable packaging by 2030.

Plastic straws are currently hard to recycle in the UK, largely due to their size. If people don’t push the straw back into the carton when finished, it can get lost in the recycling process, often falling through gaps on recycling centre sorting belts.

Ribena’s trial of the paper alternative was met with positive feedback from customers. One Ribena fan commented that they “love the new addition of a cardboard straw instead of the usual plastic ones you get”, commenting favourably that it creates “far less plastic waste and is better for the environment”. Another customer was pleased to see that the straw was strong enough to pierce the hole effectively and that it didn’t go soggy when they were drinking from the carton.

Since the initial trial, Ribena has strengthened the straw further with a second improved version ready to hit the shelves. Consumers will be able to try the new straw themselves across all Ribena cartons from this month, with full roll-out expected by April.

Jo Padwick, Transformation Manager at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, said “It is great to see our years of hard work getting such positive reviews from Ribena drinkers. We have taken into account all of the feedback to help us improve the new paper straw that is now being launched on the range across all stores.

“Saying goodbye to the final plastic straw is a great step on our journey towards 100% sustainable packaging by 2030.”

“This is fantastic news from Ribena – I’m pleased that the trials in our stores were successful,” sID James Bull, Tesco’s Head of Packaging. “Supermarkets and brands need to work together to remove and reduce unnecessary and excessive plastic, reuse more, and make sure everything that’s left is recycled. Our door remains firmly open for other brands who want to test and learn new ways to use less plastic.”

SBF GB&I is continuing to develop a hygienic wrapper for the new straws from alternative materials that will still stand up to the rigours of rucksacks and refrigerators.

This announcement follows the launch of SBF GB&I’s new Ribena bottle, which made it the UK’s largest soft drinks brand to use bottles which are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic and 100  per cent bottle-to-bottle recyclable.