Plastic Gets The Short Straw – Info about Paper Straws and Other Alternatives

Everyone is now more conscious about the impact their lifestyle has on the planet. Focus has recently turned to the plastic straw. Law-markers across the world are introducing legislation that will ban the use of this -now demonized- plastic utensil.

Why Now?

Why is the straw just now entering the conversation about being more eco-friendly? Many say that it’s this viral video from 2015 of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose that has begun to help make changes happen.

WARNING: Some viewers may find this video disturbing.

As people become more aware of the impact that certain items have on the environment, they demand changes. Right now, possibly because of this video, it’s the plastic straw’s turn.

Why Should I Partake?

People vote with their wallets. More an more, consumers are going to locations with whom they share values and morals. Think about the recent boom of non-GMO products in grocery stores. Ditching the plastic straw, and any other single use, non-biodegradable items, has the potential to help increase your foot traffic. This is especially true if you are located in a community where this is a hot topic.

What Are The Alternatives?

Plastic Gets The Short Straw - Info about Paper Straws and Other Alternatives

  • Paper Straws – These are what we used before plastic took over and they’re the popular replacement. We stock these! If you’re interested in ordering paper straws or if you have any questions you can call your sales person.
  • Wheat Stem or Bamboo Straws – This is what humans used before paper straws, going back thousands of years.
  • Metal Straws – Metal straws have the benefit of not needing to be replaced as often. Initially, however, they’re an expensive investment. The main concern with metal straws is theft. To mitigate this you can either offer the straws for sale, or include a deposit on the check for said straws and have your servers and bartenders keep track of them. With these it doesn’t have to be one straw per drink, but one per customer for the entirety of their stay.
  • No Straws – Unless customers ask. Then you can supply them with one of the environmentally friendly alternatives above.

Who’s Already In?

Certain cities and states are pushing legislation to ban plastic straws, which is forcing businesses to participate. However some businesses are taking the initiative and changing their ways without legislation. Seattle recently banned plastic straws and utensils. NYC is considering it now along with many other cities in California and around the nation. Starbucks plans to phase out plastic straws by 2020. Across the pond, the UK is implementing a ban on plastic straws and stirrers next April.

Going A Step Beyond

Plastic straws are only one of the many plastic items we use every day causing harm to the planet. If you want to have a positive impact on the planet it might be a good idea to consider alternatives for other single-use, non-biodegradable items that we use in our businesses. On this list, among others, are stirrers, to-go containers, plastic bags, and paper napkins. All of these have environmentally friendly alternatives. It’s only convenience and habit that keeps us ordering and using the products we do.

People notice when you’re making the effort. But in the case of plastic straws, with such a public topic, they’ll notice if you’re not. However, until an item gets pulled into the spotlight people only notice when you are making the effort. So if you’re going to go above and beyond the items that are currently in the public spotlight it might be a good idea to promote your Eco-friendliness on your social media channels, so you can feel the benefits as much the planet will.

Are you making the switch to paper straws? We want to know! Don’t forget to share in the comments below or on any of our social media accounts. Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube! 

Got any questions about straw alternatives? Is there some other way you want to make your business more green? We want to help! Just fill out the form below and a PJP expert will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Benjamin Michael Beddow

Benjamin Michael Beddow

Food and Beverage Professional

As a food and beverage professional for over ten years, Ben has spent most of his time behind the bar, giving him a broad and in-depth knowledge of all things drinkable and drink related. Now, as a traveling freelance writer exploring the gastronomy, drinks, and food service industry of the world, Ben has taken his knowledge and experiences to the world wide web to share with others. The love for the trade never dies and Ben can still be found running around restaurants and slinging drinks in ski resorts in the USA during the winter season.