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Avoidable plastic is making us stir crazy!

Whether it’s mixing sugar into a good old brew, or perfectly suspending 3 olives in a vodka martini, there’s no excuse for a drink stirrer causing environmental damage. This is an area where we would really like every business to ask, “do we really need these?” rather than “what can we use instead?”

Some of the disposable options below have a smaller carbon footprint than others, and some cause less pollution. But producing millions of tiny items that serve no real purpose, is a trend that simply doesn’t fit in our sustainable future. Our message is Go reusable or go home!

Go reusable or go home!

Metal teaspoons are all you need for hot drinks, and for cold drinks there are lovely reusable drinks stirrers made from metal, glass and lots of other materials that are far more elegant than the disposable plastic versions.

Sustainability rating: Red, amber, green

Green: A great sustainable choice. Good work.

Amber: Doing well but room for improvement. Move towards a green choice.

Red: Not a good choice for the planet. Move to an amber choice. Or even better a green choice.

Your choiceOur ratingThings to consider
We don’t use drinking stirrers in any of our hot or cold drinksGreenThe most sustainable thing you can do, is not use any stirrers. That way there is nothing to throw away, recycle or even wash in the first place! This will save your business money too.
We only stock reusable stirrers (teaspoons, metal cocktail stirrers etc.) that we wash and re-use again and againGreenSwitching from any kind of disposable item to a reusable option is generally always more sustainable. It will save you money on your waste and recycling bill too.
We stock disposable bamboo or wooden stirrersRedA slightly better option than single-use plastic, but not by much. As the market grows for ‘sustainable disposables’ like bamboo and wooden stirrers, unscrupulous people start clearing woodland, forest and jungle land to grow crops that they can sell, and it’s incredibly difficult to regulate. If you have to use wooden stirrers make sure they are FSC-certified.
We stock single-use plastic drink stirrersRedThe supply of plastic stirrers has been banned in England since 2020. If you are still using disposable plastic stirrers, it’s time to change now! If you do not stop selling or supplying these items you could be fined.

When and how to offer stirrers to customers

If you still use disposable stirrers, below are simple changes you can make to reduce the number of stirrers you use.

Your choice: We put a stirrer in every drink

Things to consider: Don’t put a stirrer in any drink. Wait for the customer to ask. Or ask the customer if they want a stirrer


Your choice: We keep our drink stirrers on the front of the bar or counter so customers can help themselves.

Things to consider: Keep drinking stirrers out of sight and only offer to customers who ask for one.

Tell people you have made a change

If you decide to switch to some of the sustainable behaviours above, make sure you put up a sign or tweet about it. Tell your customer what change you have made and why. This will let your customers know that you are making a positive shift to help the environment in Greater Manchester. Remember to include #PlasticFreeGM and @GMGreenCity in your tweets so we can retweet you.

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