Straws Upon Request
Straws Upon Request is the first restaurant challenge by Plastic Free Peg, launched July 2017, to decrease the use of plastic waste in our province.
Our target is to minimize while working towards eliminating the distribution and use of one-time use, disposable plastic straws starting with local restaurants in Manitoba.
For July and August 2018, we are challenging all restaurants in Winnipeg to only serve plastic straws upon request. The restaurants who join the challenge will be featured on the website and Instagram.
As far as 5000 years ago straws were used by the Sumerians for drinking beer. In the 1800's the use of straws increased drastically during the industrial revolution. It wasn't until the 1960's when plastic was the primary resource used to create drinking straws.
Plastic straws are mainly made with polypropylene, a resin, as well as colourants and other additives, and wrapped in plastic or paper sleeves or bulk packed and packaged in plastic pouches or paper boxes.
Polypropylene plastic does not readily degrade, it was made to be durable and last forever. As plastic is disposed of, over years of weathering, plastic may break down into small fragments of plastic (microplastic) and leach toxic chemical, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomers into our land, our water and our food chain.
BPA and PS oligomers are sources of concern as they can disrupt the function of and can seriously affect reproductive hormones.
In many cases, plastic straws are being distributed to the customers in restaurants without asking and thus not allowing one to have the choice to use the straw or not, creating plastic pollution that is unnecessary. Even though plastic straws can be reused, this is a rare practice.
The solution is simple.
1. Eliminate the use of plastic straws by no longer purchasing plastic straws or giving out straws automatically. This in turn will save your business money by no longer buying plastic straws and decrease the amount of plastic pollution that is made by you and the establishment.
2. Display table signs indicating that straws will only be giving out upon request. Table signs will be provided - while supplies last.
3. Supply only compostable or biodegradable straws and provide them only upon request (information where to obtain alternative straws will be provided - Greenmunch or Canada Green Natural Products is our preferred suppliers as they are Canadian company that supplies various types compostable).
4. Sell reusable straws for those customers who want to use a straw making the consumer pay a minimal fee for it (optional).
The benefits of switching to compostable straws and providing straws upon request, include:
1. Money saved on only giving straws out upon request. Compostable straws however a little more expensive will be given to customers less often.
2. Environmentally responsible image.
3. Free photo and advertisement on social media.
4. Helping decrease the plastic pollution in our city and helping to create a "Plastic Free Peg!"
Plastic Straw Alternatives
For the majority of our population, straws are not a necessity, they are a novelty item. If one does request or require the use of a straws, there are various different material a straw can be made of that are more environmentally friendly.
Alternatives to Plastic Straws:
Or just don't use a straw.
This is a good challenge individually as well. Requesting no straws when dining out or bringing your own reusable straw will help keep one-time use plastic straws out of our environment.