Grocery chain Whole Foods Market will eliminate plastic straws from all of its stores across the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada by July 2019, including Whole Foods-operated Allegro coffee bars, juice bars, and cafés. Instead, Whole Foods will provide customers with compostable paper straws—plastic straws will only be available upon request by customers with disabilities. The company—which was the first of its kind to eliminate plastic bags at checkout—is also implementing other plastic-reducing policies, including downsizing its plastic bags in the fresh produce aisle. “For almost 40 years, caring for the environment has been central to our mission and how we operate,” A.C. Gallo, President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Whole Foods Market, said. “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.” Competing grocery chain Trader Joe’s is aiming to remove one million pounds of plastic from its stores in 2019 by removing plastic wrapping on flowers, tea, and produce.
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