Countdown no longer sells plastic straws

If you're looking to buy a packet of plastic straws, don't go to Countdown.

From Monday, the supermarket chain won't be selling them in any of its stores.

"Like other plastic and packaging, straws can have a disastrous impact on the marine environment if they end up there," says Kiri Hannifin, general manager corporate affairs and sustainability.

"One of the best ways we can reduce that impact is by moving away from selling products that are used once and then thrown away, and by making more reusable and recyclable options available."

The chain estimates the change will remove 11.6 million plastic straws from circulation each year.

But if you really need to literally suck, there are other options - Countdown will still sell bamboo, metal and paper straws.

"We're continuing to look at where we can make changes in our own brands and are also working with our supplies to see here changes in their packaging may also be possible," says Ms Hannifin.

Disability advocates have expressed concern, saying bamboo and metal straws aren't as easy to use because they don't bend, and paper straws moisten up too quickly.

The turning of public opinion on plastic straws is widely credited to a viral video of a turtle that had a plastic straw stuck all the way up its nostril, shot by Christine Figgener, a marine biologist at Texas A&M University, in 2015.

Countdown last week said its South Island stores will be plastic bag free within a fortnight, and the North Island stores by the end of the year.

"Our single-use plastic carrier bag phase out has shown us that Kiwis are not only ready to adjust how they shop, but are already actively doing so. They are also giving us a lot of great feedback about other changes they'd like to see in our stores when it comes to plastic."

The Government is expected to ban them from retail stores completely next year.