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Attaching drinking straws and other ecological items to packaging instead of plastic - is that possible?

Published by Geyssel
26. May 2021
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The sale of plastic straws, stirrers and disposable cutlery will be banned in the EU as of July 2021. This poses considerable challenges not only for the catering but also the packaging industry. Many drinks, yoghurts and convenience products come with drinking straws, spoons or forks on the packaging for immediate consumption. As this increases consumer convenience it should be maintained. But how can that work – without plastic? Learn more about the impact of the plastic ban on the packaging industry and how ecological items can be used going forward.

Key points at a glance:

What does the EU’s impending plastic ban mean?

The EU plans to ban the sale of many single-use plastic items as of July 2021. This affects disposable plastic plates, plastic straws, disposable cutlery (spoons, forks, chopsticks, etc.), cotton buds, holding sticks for balloons as well as polystyrene packaging for food and drinks.

Although this ban presents the catering industry in particular with the challenge of finding new forms of packaging, the packaging industry now also has to replace the items attached to beverages and convenience products. As a wide range of eco-friendly items that can be considered as alternatives is already available, appropriate preparations can be made to attach these items to packaging.

What sorts of items are often attached to the outside of packaging?

I am sure everyone has used drinking straws – the most commonly attached items – before. Drinking straws – often also referred to as straws –  are attached to many beverage packages so that they can be consumed easily and quickly. There are the well-known straight drinking straws as well as straws with a bend, U straws or extendable straws such as telescopic straws or periscopic straws. 

Spoons (e.g. on yoghurts, salads, etc.) and “sporks” (a combination of spoon and fork) are also attached to packaging. Chopsticks (e.g. for sushi or Asian snacks) are likewise becoming increasingly popular.

How are the items attached to packaging?

The items can be attached efficiently, in high quantities and in consistent quality for almost all shapes of packaging and on virtually every side of the packaging by Applicators. These serial production machines are tailored to the needs of individual manufacturers and the respective packaging shape. Alongside the serial production machines, special machines can also be commissioned to take over further production steps, if needed.

Can ecological items such as organic drinking straws also be used?

Eco-friendly items can also be attached to packaging with the help of Applicators. Materials such as paper, wood, grains or pomace are generally used for this purpose, and the containers can also be made of paper or compostable plastic (PLA).

We can help you with detailed advice on this. GEYSSEL is a manufacturer of special machines with many years of experience in the field of Applicators and packaging machines. We offer both a wide range of Applicators and contacts to manufacturers of suitable eco-friendly items.

What added value do drinking straws and the like on packaging offer the customer?

Drinking straws on beverage packages or spoons on yoghurts and snacks make it easier to consume them on the go. As “to go” becomes increasingly trendy and ever more people buy as well as consume small snacks and drinks between meals, the sale of drinking straws and spoons or sporks attached directly to the packaging is turning into an important consumer satisfaction factor. After all, what good is pre-packaged muesli if the spoon is missing?

To reduce the plastic waste associated with the increasing popularity of convenience food and to-go products, the EU has decided to ban the sale of single-use plastic in the future. As there are enough environmentally friendly paper, wood, grain-based or PLA (compostable plastic) alternatives, this does not have be a disadvantage for the customer.

How can I as a producer procure ecological items?

This is sometimes quite simple in the catering industry, where they are increasingly replacing plastic drinking straws with paper drinking straws or – stylishly – with glass drinking straws. Although this is not quite as simple in production, it is not an unsolvable problem. As an experienced supplier of Applicators and machines for the packaging industry, we have good contacts with manufacturers of eco-friendly items that replace the previous plastic items and can also be used in the packaging industry.

Benefit from our experience. We look forward to advising you!

Conclusion

Environmental awareness and the avoidance of plastic waste are steadily gaining importance. Consumers are also putting increased priority on these issues. The EU has now taken an important step by banning the sale of disposable plastic tableware, cutlery and drinking straws as of July 2021. For packaging manufacturers this means we have to tackle the changeover in production now. Get started with eco-friendly items as soon as possible. It’s easier than you might think. Start down the path towards an increasingly plastic-free future together with Geyssel, the Applicator and special machine experts. We look forward to advising you to ensure that your changeover to the new EU directives is a success!

FAQ

Drinking straws can still be attached to drinks as long as the drinking straws are made of eco-friendly materials and not plastic. 

As the sale of disposable cutlery and tableware as well as plastic drinking straws, spoons, etc. will be banned as of July 2021, the packaging industry must switch to eco-friendly items.

It will also be permissible to attach drinking straws, spoons, forks, etc. to packaging in the future to facilitate consumption on the go as long as such items are plastic-free. A wide range of alternatives made of eco-friendly material is already available here.

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