Supermarket chains Aldi and Sainsbury's have issued a new ban at every store in the UK.

Earlier this week, Sainsbury’s announced it is sending plastic straws packing, by removing them from its own brand range of lunchbox juice cartons – removing 18.5 million plastic straws and 6.6 tonnes of single use plastic from circulation each year.

The change, which marks the latest step by the retailer to reduce plastic waste, will see all twelve products in Sainsbury’s own brand lunchbox juice carton range switch to widely recyclable paper straws – a 68.9 per cent plastic reduction on pack.

The newly packaged products land in stores this week and will be available in all stores and online by mid-April, which Sainsbury's say will offer customers an eco-friendlier way to grab a drink on the go or pack a lunchbox.

Claire Hughes, Director of Product and Innovation at Sainsbury's said: “As we work to reduce, reuse, replace and recycle plastic packaging, we’re committed to trialling and testing innovative new packaging alternatives for our products.

“Removing 18.5 million straws from circulation each year is a huge achievement and brings us closer to our goal.”

“Looking forward, we will continue to work closely with our suppliers, manufacturers, customers and other retailers to reduce the amount of single use plastic across the supply chain, whilst also investing in research and development of materials and technologies.

“We look forward to listening to feedback from our colleagues and customers about this latest packaging move.”

Elsewhere, Aldi have announced that they will do the same.

On Wednesday (March 31, 2021), Aldi confirmed that they have removed plastic straws from all own-label drinks cartons. Instead, all of those drinks now come with a paper straw that’s fully recyclable and made from FSC-certified cardboard.

This will remove 70 million plastic straws from circulation – equating to more than 100 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic each year.

Richard Gorman, Plastics and Packaging Director at Aldi UK, said: “Removing plastic straws from own-brand drinks cartons is another step in our journey to reducing plastic packaging across our products.

“Our customers want environmentally-friendly products, and plastic straws are one thing, in particular, that people want to move away from to help make a difference.”

What else have Sainsbury's and Aldi done?

Since pledging to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025 and become Net Zero in its operations by 2040, Sainsbury’s has removed thousands of tonnes of plastic across the business, including eliminating 290 million loose produce plastic bags, rigid plastic trays from tomatoes, courgettes, kiwis & baby corn (216 tonnes), plastic overlids removed from cream pots (114 tonnes), zip removal on frozen fruit bags (28 tonnes) along with removing and replacing difficult to recycle black plastic, PVC and Polystyrene from own brand packaging (6,400 tonnes).

Earlier this year, the retailer cut down the plastic packaging on its own brand pancake range by 86 per cent and introduced new trial recycling facilities in 63 stores, allowing customers to recycle Polypropylene (PP) film – a type of plastic film not currently recycled by most councils.

This means that customers can recycle household products that are hard to recycle at home including salad bags, frozen food bags, biscuit and cake wrappers.

In addition to removing plastic straws from circulation, Sainsbury’s is also working hard to replace the plastic sleeve for the straw with one made from alternative materials.

The film on the carton multipacks can be returned by customers to front of store film collection points in over 600 supermarkets across the UK for recycling.

Meanwhile, Aldi say they are looking to halve the amount of plastic packaging it uses by the end of 2025.

Other recent initiatives by Aldi include the removal of plastic packaging from its entire egg range in England and Wales and switching plastic shrink-wrap on multipack soft drinks cans to cardboard.

According to Aldi, the supermarket chain is on track to have all product packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by the end of 2025.