Whole Foods Market has announced plans to eliminate plastic straws from its stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom by July 2019.
Whole Foods Market has one store on Maui and three stores on Oahu.
The Texas-based grocer acquired by Amazon said by July, single-use, plastic straws will be removed from its Allegro coffee bars, juice bars and cafes. Customers will instead be offered paper straws with frozen drinks or upon request. The paper straws are Forest Stewardship Council-certified, recyclable and compostable.
The company said, however, it will offer a plastic straw option for customers with disabilities.
In addition, Whole Foods switched to smaller plastic bags in its produce department this year and is replacing plastic rotisserie chicken containers with new bags that use approximately 70% less plastic.
Together, these changes are expected to reduce an estimated 800,000 pounds of plastic per year.
“For almost 40 years, caring for the environment has been central to our mission and how we operate,” said A.C. Gallo, Whole Foods President and Chief Merchandising Officer, in a news release. “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.”
Whole Foods said these efforts to reduce plastic have been ongoing.
In 2008, Whole Foods Market became the first U.S. grocer to eliminate disposable plastic grocery bags at checkout. Recently, Whole Foods eliminated all polystyrene foam meat trays in its stores in the U.S. and Canada. The grocer also provides customers with salad boxes made of commercially compostable material.