Going strawless - doing good for the environment


Plastic straws on milk packs could be a thing of the past as Fonterra Milk for Schools launches a strawless option for schools.

“We care about our environment and recognise the growing concern around plastic packaging. We’re working really hard to make our packaging sustainable and know it’s an issue schools have been worried about. While our plastic straws and wrappers on our milk packs are recyclable, we appreciate some plastic straws don’t always end up in the recycling bins and are at risk of ending up as litter in the ocean,” says Carolyn Mortland, Fonterra’s Director of Sustainability.

That’s why we’re offering schools across New Zealand the opportunity to move to a more sustainable packaging as part of our efforts to reduce waste going to landfill.

Carolyn Mortland, Fonterra Director of Sustainability

“One solution we’ve been exploring to help schools reduce waste is to move away from the small 200ml single-serve milk packs towards a 1-litre format, which is a really sustainable packaging choice.”

The option to shift to the more sustainable packaging is being offered to the more than 1,300 schools participating in Fonterra Milk for Schools.

The 1-litre pack is more sustainable because it doesn’t use straws or plastic wrapping, like the 200ml format does, and it’s not single-serve. It also allows schools to minimise milk wastage, by having more control over serving size. Every 1-litre pack removes the need for five single-serve packs, which means fewer straws and less plastic and packaging. 

Halfmoon Bay School on Stewart Island successfully switched their milk packs, helping cut down their packaging waste by about 80%.

Feedback from Halfmoon Bay has been really positive.

“We had a few spills initially with the milk in cups but now the children pour the milk and stack the dishwasher (even the 5-year old). The children are also very environmentally aware and appreciate they are having less of an impact by not using straws and little boxes. There's also less waste with children only having what they can drink.” 

Fonterra farmer Suzanne Brocx from Okaihau in Northland says it’s a no-brainer for schools looking to do the right thing.

“It’s great to see school kids around the country enjoying the goodness of dairy every day, which is nutritious and healthy. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of our beautiful environment. I’m proud that our Co-op is serious about reducing waste and doing what it can to help schools and communities reduce waste too.”

Schools are being asked to express their interest in the 1L pack option in a survey sent to them from Fonterra Milk for Schools team. 

This is all part of Fonterra’s plan to reduce packaging waste by having zero waste going to landfill and 100% recycling and reusable packaging by 2025.