The final straw: Ribena becomes first major UK juice drinks brand to trial paper straws on cartons


Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland trials recyclable paper straw on Ribena No Added Sugar cartons to reduce amount of plastic waste lost to landfill

London, 21/09/2020 – Ribena has become the first major juice drinks brand in the UK to introduce a paper straw to its drinks cartons, with the new packs now available in Tesco as part of a trial of the new paper straw design .

Ribena’s bendable paper straws are the latest in a stream of packaging innovations which brand owner Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland (SBF GB&I) has invested in. They follow successful trials of seaweed-based pods at sporting events, a recent breakthrough in enzymatic plastic recycling, and come as part of a wider set of changes due for Ribena this year.

Finding a suitable paper replacement for plastic straws is an important step, as it eliminates a piece of plastic packaging that often goes unrecycled. SBF GB&I has been working with sustainable packaging experts, Transcend Packaging to develop this 100% recyclable paper alternative, which will prevent up to 16 tonnes1 of plastic waste per year. Transcend is a global pioneer in sustainable packaging and the first major producer of paper straws in the UK.

Plastic straws are currently hard to recycle in the UK, largely due to their size. If consumers don’t push the straw back into the carton when finished, it can get lost in the recycling process, often falling through gaps on recycling centre sorting belts.

During this trial , Ribena will include on-pack messaging to signal the change to its No Added Sugar cartons. SBF GB&I is continuing to work with Transcend to develop a hygienic wrapper from alternative materials that will stand up to the rigours of rucksacks and refrigerators.

Jo Padwick, Business Transformation Manager at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, comments:

“Further improving the recyclability of our cartons is an important step in achieving our 100% sustainable packaging by 2030 ambition, but for full circularity, local authorities need to work with brands to ensure cartons and straws are recycled. Currently only 65% 2of local authorities collect cartons from household waste which is why we’re welcoming national governments’ moves to introduce consistency in household recycling collections.

Developing a bendable, durable paper straw, hasn’t been easy but recycling it should be. We’ve conducted hours of consumer testing to make sure our new paper straws can puncture the carton, that they don’t become soggy, and that Ribena lovers enjoy the feel of sipping from them. Now that they’re out in market we can gather even more feedback before rolling the straws out more widely.”

Tesco quote

Lorenzo Angelucci, Managing Director at Transcend Packaging says:

After many months of development and a rigorous testing process, we are pleased to bring to market a bendable paper straw that provides a sustainable option for drinks cartons. As the European leader in paper straw production, we are committed to the challenge of creating new and innovative products that help leading brands meet their sustainability goals. Transcend would like to congratulate Ribena for being the first UK-based drinks brand to introduce a paper straw to its drink cartons and feel it is a natural extension of their commitment toward sustainability and innovation.

Ribena has been leading the way towards sustainable packaging for over a decade, becoming the first UK drinks brand to make bottles from 100% recycled plastic all the way back in 2007.

About Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland

Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland (SBF GB&I) is one the leading soft drinks businesses in the UK and Ireland. SBF GB&I was formed in 2014 as Lucozade Ribena Suntory and is part of Suntory Beverage & Food Europe. Our much-loved soft drinks brands include Lucozade Energy, Lucozade Sport, Lucozade Revive, Ribena, Orangina and MayTea.

Our business is driven by our “Yatte Minahare” spirit and our role is to have a positive impact on the lives of our consumers by providing them with a responsible choice of great-tasting drinks that people can feel good about while enabling them to lead active lifestyles.

1 Annually SBF GB&I consume 40,000,000 straws equalling 16 tonnes by weight