Ice cream chain Ben & Jerry’s has announced plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws and spoons from its 600 Scoop Shops worldwide in early 2019 and tackle clear plastic cups, lids and plastic-lined cups by the end of 2020.

Ben & Jerry’s global sustainability manager Jenna Evans 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 Scoop Shops currently give customers 2.5 million plastic straws and 30 million plastic spoons a year.

Vermont Public Interest Research Group executive director Paul Burns said: “Single-use plastics are a pollution threat unlike anything we’ve seen before.

“Across the globe, discarded plastics are choking our environment and threatening wildlife. The only solution is to stop using them. That’s why 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.”

Ben & Jerry’s has introduced a number of measures to phase out single-use plastic at its Scoop Shops. It made plastic straws available by request only in August 2018, with several Scoop Shops already using plastic alternatives by this time. Scoop Shops will completely transition to wooden spoons, and make paper straws available by request only by April 2019.

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Evans said: “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 towards 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.”