Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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AWAY TAKE Continued on page 20 Good Riddance, Plastic Straws Global momentum to phase out plastic straws is growing in part due to numerous social media campaigns using hashtags like #StrawsSuck and #TheLastStraw, and bans on the ubiquitous drink accessories have been set in place everywhere from major airlines to McDonald's eateries throughout the U.K. (though paper straws are on offer, and even plastic straws are still around; they're kept behind the counter and have to be requested). Of the more than 500 million straws Americans use every day (according to the National Park Service), it's estimated that at least half of those come from coffee shops. Most plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through a mechanical recycling sorter, and so they end up in landfills and the ocean. Not only are plastic straws and stirrers among the top 10 plastic debris found during coastal cleanups, researchers estimate that 90 percent of individual seabirds, as well as whales, dolphins, and sea turtles, have ingested plastic straws. If you think compostable straws are the answer, think again: They're good in theory, but are too often disposed of incorrectly. Compostable straws are no better than regular plastic straws when they get into the marine environment. There are some alternatives for those who really want a straw: paper straws for single use, and bamboo and stainless-steel straws for repeat use. "Using paper straws is a small thing we can do to help reduce the environmental impact of our café," says Kaitii Bandura, general manager at Posies Bakery & Café in Portland, Ore. "Our customers have been completely supportive of this initiative, and it makes me want to shout it from the rooftop how easy this was for us so that others can join in." Barista Mag put out a call in April on Instagram asking readers to share personal experiences with and opinions about plastic-straw use in their shops. While all the responses we received were from café owners and managers who either had already phased them out or intended to, some worried their customers wouldn't like it, and others said they struggled with the much higher cost of paper straws. We quickly saw that the topic of plastic straws in cafés deserved a much larger discussion in our pages, so we're at work on a full feature about it for the August + September 2018 issue—stay tuned. Meanwhile, we urge you to check out the #StopSucking and #TheLastStraw social media campaigns; talk with your café neighbors about what solutions they're considering; and finally, write to us with your ideas and opinions at editor@baristamagazine.com. 18 barista magazine

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