Waitrose shop front web

Waitrose’s straw ban in its cafes forms part of a series of environmentally conscious changes it has taken in recent months

Waitrose has pledged to stop stocking plastic straws in its cafés and replace them with paper versions by end of the month.

The step means 600,000 straws a year will be converted to a home compostable material certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, according to the supermarket.

The announcement forms part of a series of environmentally conscious changes it has taken in recent months. These include its promise to not sell packets of plastic straws in its supermarkets from September 2018, making non-plastic crockery available in its cafés, and not selling any own-label food in black plastic, which cannot be recycled, beyond 2019. It has already removed close to two-thirds (65%) of black plastic from its fruit & vegetable packaging.

Waitrose has committed to making all its own-label packaging widely recyclable, reusable, or home compostable by 2025.

Waitrose also hopes to end the sale of drinks on its shelves that come with single-use plastic straws, such as juice cartons, but has yet to find suitable alternatives.

“Phasing out single-use plastic straws in our cafés and on shelves shows how seriously we are taking their impact on the environment,” said Tor Harris, head of sustainability and responsible sourcing at Waitrose. “Plastic straws may seem insignificant but their impact on wildlife can be devastating. We hope this step will make a positive contribution to our environment.”