Coca-Cola Amatil's decision to replace plastic straws with paper in Australian outlets has been welcomed by Clean Up Australia, but consumers have been warned against becoming complacent with disposal.
The company announced yesterday it will phase out plastic drinking straws and stirrers in Australia over the next two months and replace them with fully recyclable and biodegradable paper straws.
Group managing director Alison Watkins said the decision's part of the company's efforts to reduce single-use plastics.
"We've heard the community message loud and clear - that unnecessary packaging is unacceptable, and we all need to work together to reduce the amount entering litter streams, the environment and the oceans," she said.
Clean Up Australia's managing director Terrie-Ann Johnson says Coca-Cola Amatil is doing the right thing and taking a step in the right direction, but it's also up to consumers to dispose of biodegradable straws properly.
Last year, straws made up nearly 11 per cent of all plastic rubbish reported to Clean Up Australia.
"As rubbish, these items will still cause harm," Ms Johnson told AAP.
Compostable waste is the best way to dispose of paper straws, followed by commercial composting or landfill, but in the open they will take longer and cause harm, she said.
"It will still be consumed by birds and animals while it's biodegrading out in the environment," she said.
The new paper drinking straws will be sourced from suppliers BioPak and Austraw and made available through Amatil's ordering platform to around 115,000 outlets nationwide including grocery, petrol and convenience stores, bars, cafes and quick service restaurants.
The company said distribution of the old single-use plastic drinking straws and stirrers will cease as stocks run out over the next two months.
The new sustainable paper straws will be available from February.
Coca-Cola Amatil intends to make 100 per cent of Australian packaging fully recyclable by 2025, including all bottles, cans, plastic wrap, straws, glass and cardboard.