Cutting Out Plastic Straws: Why You Should Consider Moving Over to Reusable Straws

  • October 01, 2018
  • Restaurant
  • Superior Linen Services
plastic straws vs reusable straws

If your Seattle restaurant is facing the city’s plastic straw ban, or you own a restaurant outside of city limits and are curious what the fuss is about, you may be wondering what could be so bad about something so seemingly small like a straw?

While the plastic straw may not seem like a big deal in comparison to other unsustainable practices, these small materials when added up are terrible for ecosystems, animals and even our own human health.

Why Plastic Straws Are Bad

Not only are plastic straws detrimental because they are disposed of in large numbers, approximately 500 million per day, but also because of the material that they are made of and their size.

1. It can take up to 1000 years for plastic to decompose.

Over time, a straw may break apart into smaller pieces until eventually it is no longer seen by the visible eye, but that doesn’t mean that those straws aren’t still there. In fact, 99% of the plastic in the ocean can easily go undetected. As the straws decompose, they only break into smaller pieces of plastics, turning into microplastics.

One of the primary problem with microplastics is that animals, especially marine life, mistake these small particles for food and end up ingesting them. These microplastics can end up harming those animals and can be fatal. But, let’s say that we catch marine fish for consumption before the microplastics cause significant harm. The microplastics they had ingested are then in our seafood, meaning we are consuming plastic!

While research is still being conducted on what the impacts of this could be, you can imagine that eating plastic over time can’t be good for you – cancers and other illnesses could be the result of ingesting microplastics.

2. Because they are so small, animals can easily mistake them for food or something else, ultimately harming the animal.

The footage individuals have gotten showing the impacts of plastic on animals is truly heartbreaking. Because many of the videos are graphic and use strong language, we won’t link to any in this blog post, but if you search online for plastic and marine life, you’ll likely find footage that will make you never want to look at another plastic straw.

How to Move Over to Reusable Straws

It’s clear that plastic straws don’t serve any beneficial purpose to the environment, but you may dread switching over, asking yourself questions such as:

  1. What do I replace plastic straws with?
  2. What if I receive negative feedback?

Here’s your questions answered:

  1. The most simple solution to ridding your restaurant of plastic straws is not to replace them with anything. Straws are not normally necessary when drinking and instead have just become a habit in society. The only time a straw may be necessary is for someone who cannot physically lift a cup and bring it to their mouth, in which case most bans allow you to use plastic straws if a customer actually needs one. But in that case, there are other reusable straws you can use as an alternative. Every business has something different but the wide range of eco-friendly straw options includes compostable straws, stainless steel straws, bamboo straws, and more.
  2. If a customer may not need a straw, but truly wants one, reusable straws come in handy so that you have backups on hand that are not as harmful to the environment. One common concern with reusable straws is their cleanliness and sanitation, so make sure if you do start offering non-compostable straws for reuse in your restaurant that you implement proper sanitation practices so that you can reassure your customers that your straws are sanitary.

Choose Classy

One benefit that we haven’t yet mentioned about switching over to reusable straws and ridding your restaurant of plastic straws is that your restaurant will look much more elegant. Plastic in your table settings looks cheap, so your business will instantly look more appealing when you don’t serve your guests with low-quality materials.

If the elegant look is something that your restaurant is going for, at Superior Linen Service, we offer local restaurant linen services that will elevate the atmosphere of your restaurant. We offer tablecloths, napkins, kitchen apparel, and more!

Not only do these supplies make your restaurant look better, but they also align with your business’ goal of transitioning to more eco-friendly alternatives. Utilizing reusable linens, such as napkins, helps your company cut down on waste from other disposable products.

To learn more about our services and how we help your business go green, contact us at 253-383-2636.

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