The Canadian foodservice industry is plagued with many pressures, both political and social. The latest on the horizon is environmentally based and focused on the use of single-use plastics. Many segments of the foodservice industry today rely on these items as an economical solution for products such as cups, lids and straws. However, with mounting environment pressure from activists, governments and the public, what can operators do?

The use of plastic straws as of late has been a major focus. Current estimates state that Canadians use approximately 57 million straws a day with less than 20% recycled. A significant amount ends up in landfills, but a substantial amount also end up as litter. Straws are one of the top 10 items found in ocean and beach litter surveys. Straws can also have a dramatic negative impact on fish and wildlife.

Many operators have already taken action to eliminate or reduce the number of plastics straws with some chains switching to biodegradable or paper straws. Other individual restaurants, particularly in the bar sector have eliminated straws altogether.

A number of North American municipalities including Seattle have introduced straw bans while many others including Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Halifax are studying the issue. In Vancouver, city staff have put forward a proposal requiring servers to ask customers whether they want a straw as a first step. Internationally, the movement continues to grow as the UK is set to ban all sales of single-use plastics, including plastic straws and Q-tips from the country as early as next year.

Restaurants Canada is focused on developing a strategy to provide restaurant operators solutions and alternatives to help this growing concern. We would also like feedback from you. With the mounting pressure on plastic, more specifically straws, do you have any plans to phase them out in your establishment?

Share your plans in the comments below.

8 comments

8 responses to “Single-Use Plastics: Is the end near?”

  1. Well I am doing my best Not to use straws. After I saw what plastic does to sea turtles off the coast of Florida, I was permanently in Against Straws, plastic waste. Etc
    FYI – at Starbucks they now have permanent use straws for sale to go with all their sustainable cups. #Starbucks #awesome

  2. Hugh Hillman says:

    We are “plastic” straw free. If a guest requests a straw we will give them one.

  3. Cindy Crowley says:

    We have eliminated the use of plastic straws with no negative impact. Our guests love the fact that we are doing are part for the environment. We do still have straws available for children and guests who need to use a straw. This is a very easy issue to address and have immediate impact.

  4. Bud Plymouth says:

    Enforce litter & recycling laws and regulations. Problem solved.

  5. We are currently working toward eliminating plastic straws and Styrofoam take out containers & Styrofoam coffee cups

  6. Kathleen Congdon says:

    Plastic Straws are being phased out on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The Surfriders Association is helping Businesses to ban straw by offering discounts to buy paper straws. This is great and we all look forward to phasing out straws. There are few hurdles as some of us have 2000-5000 straws in our establishment and the Official day for “straw Free” is mid June 2018. This is tuff to swallow if you have a lot of Straws. However we are asking people if they want a straw with only Milkshakes or Smoothies. We do not give out straws for Soda drinks or coffee.

  7. pete willems says:

    Two years ago, i had phased out single use martini picks, and have not purchased any fancy cocktail ‘swords’, instead switched to wooded skewers. we have also phased out ‘automatic’ straws as a garnish, don’t even offer one, we make the customer ask for one. (less than 5% do )
    Looking at affordable paper and/ or biodegradable products.

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