Ben & Jerry’s will no longer offer plastic straws and spoons in any of its more than 600 Scoop Shops worldwide in early 2019.
The company also announced a plan to address plastic cups and lids used to serve ice cream by the end of 2020.
Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops currently hand out 2.5 million plastic straws a year, and 30 million plastic spoons.
Jenna Evans, Ben & Jerry’s global sustainability manager, said: “We’re not going to recycle our way out of this problem. We and the rest of the world need to get out of single-use plastic.”
Ben & Jerry’s has already put into play parts of its sustainable strategy by making plastic straws only available on request or having plastic alternatives.
By April 2019 Ben & Jerry’s will have completed the transition to wooden spoons and paper straws will be available by request only.
Additionally, by the end of 2020, the company pledges to find an alternative to clear plastic cups, plastic-lined cups and plastic lids.
Pints and “tubs” have been made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified paperboard since 2009. But because they are coated with polyethylene to create a moisture barrier, they are difficult to recycle.
Evans added: “Over the past year, we have begun an intensive effort to find a biodegradable and compostable coating that meets our product quality requirements.
“In the short term, eliminating plastic straws and spoons is not going to save the world, but it’s a good start toward changing expectations.
“We’re committed to exploring additional options to further reduce the use of disposable items. This transition is the first step for us on a more comprehensive journey to eliminate single-use, petroleum-based plastic in our supply chain, and we look forward to reporting on our progress.”
Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, said: “Ben & Jerry’s plan to move away from single-use plastics is exactly the kind of leadership we need. We urge other businesses to follow Ben & Jerry’s example and kick the plastics habit.”