(WAFB) - Whole Foods will launch several green initiatives to use less plastic, which includes getting rid of plastic straws and offering smaller produce bags.
The Amazon-owned grocer announced Monday it plans to launch these initiatives July 2019. Whole Foods, according to the company, will be the first national grocer in the United States to ban plastic straws.
Plastic straws will also be banned at the company’s stores in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Customers will be offered paper straws with frozen drinks, upon request. These straws are Forest Stewardship Council-certified, recyclable and compostable. The company said it will offer a plastic straw option for customers with disabilities.
“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," A.C. Gallo, President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Whole Foods Market said in a statement.
Whole Foods has already switched to using smaller plastic bags in its produce department and will replace its hard plastic rotisserie chicken containers with new bags. These bags use about 70 percent less plastic, the company stated. The packaging changes will reduce about 800,000 pounds of plastic per year.
In 2008, Whole Foods started using paper bags in lieu of plastic bags.
Other retailers and companies have been cracking down on the plastic consumption because of its damage to the environment.
Eight million metric tons of plastic winds up in oceans each year, which is enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic, according to a Sciences Advances article.