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Why Popular Alcohol Companies Are Eliminating Plastic From Their Brands

Two adult beverage companies, Diageo and Pernod Ricard, are eliminating the use of plastic straws and stirrers. Both of them recently announced that they’ll be removing these products from their business entirely and won’t be encouraging them in advertisements. It’s a move that continues the growing trend of limiting plastic straw use worldwide.

Last December, Diageo implemented a new policy to phase out plastic packaging. This included the use of any plastic straws and stirrers in the British company’s products. A number of popular alcoholic beverages fall under the Diageo brand, including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, and Guinness.

Diageo’s ban would stretch to their office buildings and any events or advertisements that showcased their beverages. David Croft, the company’s Global Sustainable Development Director, said in the policy update that “reusable, compostable, or biodegradable alternatives” would only be used when needed.

A week ago, Pernod Ricard announced the ban of non-biodegradable plastic straws and stirrers in similar fashion. They noted that an increase in cocktails have created a surge in plastic straw usage. Typically, one standard plastic straw could take up to 200 years for it to break down in our landfills, and they’re only used for one drink.

The French company’s vision aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of reducing environmental waste. They want to reduce waste heading to the landfills all the way to zero by 2020. Since forming in 1975, the company has acquired brands such as Jameson Irish Whiskey and Absolut Vodka.

“The history of Pernod Ricard and our values are intrinsically linked to social responsibility and care…” Vanessa Wright, the company’s VP of sustainability and responsibility, said in a press release. “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.”

Paul Ricard, who created his own pastis alcoholic beverage and created a company that eventually merged into Pernod Ricard, was also an environmentalist. Annoyed with industrial pollution, he founded what’s now known as the Paul Ricard Oceanographic Institute back in 1966. This offers research, films, and overall awareness of marine life.

Plastic straws are being phased out as their environmental hazards outweigh the convenience. While an outright ban may not work for everyone, limiting their use by creating an on-demand system at restaurants is a step in the right direction. Launching campaigns that encourage people to eliminate their plastic straw usage could also push them to using environmentally-friendly alternatives.

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