British manufacturer Transcend Packaging has unveiled a recyclable and biodegradable U-bend paper straw that is set to be featured on Ribena packs.

With single-use plastic straws thought to account for 4% of all plastic waste globally and 2,000 tonnes of plastic straws believed to end up in the world’s oceans every year, Transcend hopes that its new paper straws can make a meaningful contribution toward reducing plastic waste.

Alongside their introduction via Ribena’s drinks cartons, the straws have reportedly completed successful industrial trials on both SIG and Tetrapak lines.

Lorenzo Angelucci, CEO at Transcend Packaging, explains: “Anyone who has ever had a carton drink will instantly recognise the bendable plastic straws on the side of juice boxes found in supermarkets, cafes and packed lunch boxes across the country. The problem is these straws are used just once but then the plastic remains, as the straws are not often recycled.

"Because these straws need to be bendable and sharp enough to pierce the seal on the drink, it has traditionally been thought to be very difficult to create them from paper.

"Our new U-bend straw represents a significant design advancement and we are deploying it into the market at scale to provide drinks brands with a more sustainable option for their products.”

Jo Padwick, business transformation manager at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, comments: “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.”