UK-based supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has announced it will remove plastic straws from its own-brand lunchbox juice cartons.

The retailer will replace plastic straws in all 12 of its carton products with paper straws, which can be widely recycled.

This will reduce plastic usage on its packaging by 68.9% and allow Sainsbury’s to eliminate 18.5 million plastic straws and 6.6t of single-use plastic each year.

The newly packaged products are currently available in some stores and will be available in all stores and online by next month.

Sainsbury’s product and innovation director Claire Hughes said: “As we work to reduce, reuse, replace and recycle plastic packaging, we’re committed to trialling and testing innovative new packaging alternatives for our products.

“Looking forwards, we will continue to work closely with our suppliers, manufacturers, customers and other retailers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic across the supply chain, whilst also investing in research and development of materials and technologies.

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“We look forward to listening to feedback from our colleagues and customers about this latest packaging move.”

Sainsbury’s has pledged to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025 and aims to achieve net-zero target across its operations by 2040.

Last month, the retailer shared plans to launch a new film recycling system at select stores.

The system would enable customers to recycle polypropylene (PP) film products such as salad bags, frozen food bags, biscuits and cake wrappers.

In January, Sainsbury’s shared plans for a mass roll-out of its plant-based teabags, which are due to be available in all stores from June.

This month, the retailer was announced as the Principal Supermarket Partner for the UN’s international climate change conference, COP26, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November.