While the drinks industry has been using plastic straws and stirrers for decades, Pernod Ricard says the rebirth of cocktails has seen an ‘explosion’ in their use around the world.
“A straw which is only used on average for 20 minutes can take more than 200 years to break down into smaller pieces and often does not fully disintegrate,” says the company.
“We know that this type of non-biodegradable plastic is having a detrimental impact on the environment and oceans, and for us it’s crucial that we play our role in helping to prevent any further damage.”
According to campaign group The Last Plastic Straw, 500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the US alone: enough to wrap around the Earth's circumference 2.5 times a day.
Similar commitments from Bacardi and Diageo
Calls to ban the use of single-use plastic straws have been gathering momentum. In the UK, for example, pub chain JD Weatherspoon will no longer automatically put plastic straws in drinks and only use biodegradable straws when it does; while the government has said it will start exploring the potential of a tax on single-use plastics.
Bacardi also announced an in-house initiative to remove straws and stirrers in cocktails at company events in 2016.
Meanwhile, Diageo announced in December that it is phasing out the use of all plastic straws and stirrers from its office, events, promotions, advertising and marketing globally, advocating for the same practice from its partners and customers. Where it deems straws to be an important part of the enjoyment of its brands, only reusable, compostable or biodegradable options will be used.
Pernod Ricard is the world’s second biggest wine and spirit company with brands including Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet Scotch Whiskies, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin and Jacob’s Creek.
Along with contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Pernod Ricard’s 2020 Roadmap includes reducing its waste to landfill from 913 tons today to zero by 2020.