Friday, 22 September 2023

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Yakult joins the no-straw movement in 2019

Yakult Singapore is stepping into the New Year greener than before. In a Facebook post on 27 Dec, the company announced that they will stop providing straws in their drink packages.

The announcement follows a number of food and beverage giants around the world pledging to cut down their use of plastics. This includes entire cities such as Bali enacting regulation to ban single-use plastics like shopping bags, styrofoam packets, and straws. Coffee giant Starbucks also jumped on the no-straw movement by pledging to get rid of all plastic straws in stores around the world by 2020.

Earlier this year in Singapore, KFC joined the bandwagon by no longer providing plastic caps and straws for dine in customers around Burger King pledged to remove plastic draws and drinks for cold drinks for dine-in customers.

Also, Resorts World Sentosa have stopped providing customers with plastic straws since 1 October 2018. This will reportedly reduce the amount of plastic straws being discarded by more than 1.2 tonnes per year.

Back to Yakult, the company said it would be removing straws from two products – Yakult and Yakult Ace Light – as part of efforts to help protect and sustain the environment. The company suggests that their probiotic milk can be consumed directly from the bottle by removing the foil cap.

I don’t know about you, but that’s the only way I’ve ever drunk Yakult. It’s like taking a shot only this one is supposed to be good for my health. It’s a lot more fun without a straw.

Clearly, the move is commendable. When giant corporations decide to make a move for the betterment of the planet, I’d call that a win. However, I do think it’s a half-hearted move for the company to stop providing plastic straws while their product is still being sold in plastic containers and packaged in single use plastics. Really, the straws make up a small percentage of the overall amount of plastic that comes with a standard package of Yakult.

Seems to me that the no-straw movement adopted by many companies is driven more by publicity/marketing strategy than a genuine care for the environment. After all, scientists in Australia have estimated that discarded plastic straws make up only about 0.03% of the 8 million metric tonne of plastic estimated to enter the oceans per year.

So I hope that these companies don’t just stop at ‘no-straw’ and ‘no lid for dine-in’. The plastic problem is a massive, global issue and we need bigger, sweeping changes to the way we approach plastic use and recyling if we want to make a significant difference.

For now though, I’d say publicity driven care for the environment is still better than not caring at all. Fake it till you make it, right?

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