Starbucks have recently come up with a creative straw-free solution for our take-away frappés. On top of their commitment to the complete ban of plastic straws in 2020, the Seattle born coffee giant has reintroduced the 'sippy lid' for cold take away cups.
This is great news given that Starbucks is now officially the largest food company in the world to ban plastic straws in all of its locations around the globe. They haven't totally given up straws as they will have earth-friendly alternatives for those who need or wish to use one.
Although good step in the right direction for Starbucks, the adult-upgraded sippy-lid is made out of plastic. Are we trading one plastic for another, or will this be added to a phase out as well? Environmentalists and consumers are praising the move. It is estimated that that the company will eliminate the use of 1 billion plastic straws from consumers in a year. Additionally, a 10 million dollar initiative has been set through the NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge on the sourcing of a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup.
Which food giant do you think will join the list next? Is there a local restaurant or café that you would like to see go plastic-free? Tell us below in the comments section.
CTV News Vancouver spoke with one of the founders of Last Straw Co.© and a few of our clients about the growing trend of reusable drinking straws. Co-Founder, Brian Grant points out why the switch was so important, echoed by the General Managers of both The Cascade Room and Vijs.
Click here for the entire story.
*Special thanks to Cascade Room and Vij's for their support!
Vancouver adds to the list of canadian cities pledging a ban of single-use products
This week, Vancouver City council announced a promise to completely ban on plastic straws and foam cups and containers by June 1st, 2019, four days shy of World Environment Day. Following a number of Canadian and International cities, Vancouver aims to be a zero-waste city by 2040. Right now, the announcement is not a complete ban on plastic products, however, the city vows a full ban on plastic bags and single-use containers in 2021 if waste reduction goals are not met. (1)
The ban is taking specific aim at the following:
Mayor Gregor Robertson released a few statements on why the ban is important and how powerful the motivators are to change. "Cities around the world recognize the detrimental impacts of plastic waste on our environment and are taking bold steps to cut down or eliminate waste through bans and innovated reusable programs. In Vancouver, we're hearing strong support from local businesses, environmental groups and the general public, and I'm confident that this comprehensive strategy will help us become a clean, zero-waste city."
Campaigns like Drop The Straw are working hard to help amplify the call for change. They recently teamed up with the GM of local restaurant, Cascade Room, and pitched a proposal with a growing petition on single-use plastics. The waste numbers are disgusting...nearly 18,000 plastic straws were cleaned from our countries coastlines last year alone (reported by Dolf DeJong, The Vancouver Aquarium's Vice-President and GM). Each week, Vancouverites toss out 2 million plastic bags and 2.6 million paper cups (112 million bags and 145 million cups a year!)
Local establishments like Vij's, Chambar, Resurrection Spirits Distillery, and Phat Bar in Yaletown are joining the list of restaurants and bars across the country making the switch to either skip or switch the straw for a more environmentally friendly option. The Okanagan said no to plastic back in February (2), and the movement is picking up steam.
On the other side of the continent, Montreal implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags in January and will be introducing fines for businesses who do not comply. Retailers and residents have had the winter and spring to ease into the change. The full ban begins on June 5th.(3)
Though a growing number of businesses in Toronto are making the switch, the city has yet to make any solid decisions on a ban. Back in April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dodged questions about plastic waste bans in the UK.(4) Without federal unity on this issue, it will be local grassroots initiatives that will make the greatest impact on reducing our global footprint.
Is your favourite bar or restaurant still using plastic straws? Spread the word and help them make the change. "If you can't reuse it, REFUSE it".
It is easy to see the damage that we have done (and continue to do, quite frankly) to the planet with our 'convenient inventions/processes'. But, have you ever wondered about the dollar amount attached to these choices?
Each straw option has a price; to the environment and to our wallets. The direct impact to our bottom line is easiest to see and first that we feel.
When we dig a bit deeper, we find that the dollar drain from our pockets is the least of our financial woes. We try and hide from the basic understanding of ecological damage, yet, as humans we need to speak to our vanity to truly evoke change.
The financial numbers collected and estimated around the world are startling. From the economic burden of plastic packaging costs to the price we pay to clean and maintain coastlines, the cost is great to essentially resuscitate the biological systems that keep balance for all living things.
Researchers have been able to figure that ocean plastic pollution costs the global economy $13 billion dollars a year, not just from single-use products but also from the amount of micro plastics in personal care products, like polymer micro beads found in toothpaste, gel, and glitter.
In 2014, the Plastic Disclosure Project and Trucost, An environmental data firm, worked with the U.N. Environmental program and produced papers to the United Nations Assembly, siting that the annual damage done to the environment in consumer goods amounts to an estimated $75 billion dollars.
Consumers and companies could save billions a year through better plastic management such as recycling and reusing. However, disclosure of plastic use is poor as less than half of the companies assessed gave true data. More needs to be done in the way of education for businesses. By putting a financial value on pollution, companies can better implement sustainable programs and will see the short-term and long-term savings.
We are still largely fossil-fuel based and the costs both economic and ecological are spread out and hidden. Scientists have discovered a new plastic threat, micro plastics, now found in high numbers in our drinking water. It isn't just marine animals that are being threatened.
Do you choose convenient over conscientious?
Each time you forget to bring a reusable shopping bag or coffee mug, you are not only adding to the global waste problem, you are creating financial strain. A $30 tumbler doesn't seem like too much a price to pay knowing the bigger number shared by us all. Each choice we make has a price. We have a moral responsibility to make better choices.
What choices are you going to start making today to reduce the impact you have on global waste? Do you have shopping totes at the ready? Do you take your lunch to work instead of eating out? Have you found the many ways to reuse and recycle mason jars?
Share with us your eco-friendly tricks and tips!
Following many restaurants and bars in North America and across the globe, The Cascade Room has made the monumental jump to get rid of plastic drinking straws behind their bar.
"The reason to switch was simple" explains general Manager, Justin Taylor. " Plastic straws are simply unnecessary and completely destructive to the environment. When I started to do the math on what we purchase and throw away yearly, and then what it might look like if I multiplied it by all the restaurants in Vancouver, BC, then Canada and beyond for the rest of the world...I almost cried.
I couldn't even begin to imagine what that pile of plastic would look like after each day if we put it all in one spot". This is actually happening in our oceans and landfills every day. Just last week, The Telegraph UK shared this heart-wrenching article of a garbage island literally five miles long, chocking and blanketing the Caribbean sea.
The push from customers and media alike help make the decision to switch easier. At the Cascade Room, cocktails and drinks arrive at the table without a straw. Alongside a short write up in their bar menu, this opens up the conversation about #theinitiative, and that there is another option: classy, glassy drinking straws.
The program has been well received. The popularity of the straws have persuaded the restaurant to sell the glass straws at their bar for $5.00 each, so patrons can enjoy the experience at home as well.
When I asked Justin about their decision to switch, and why they are promoting #noplastic. "Whether you switch to glass or simply not use straws at all...it needs to stop (plastic use). I would be all about a push to nationally ban plastic straws and their production."
He is only one of many who share this sentiment. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a necessary change to our dining habits, in and outside of the home.
Check out their new fall menus and follow The Cascade room on their Facebook and Instagram feed.
Written by: Allison Pehleman | Creative Director, The Last Straw Co.®
For more on the author, here.