Q: Are you affiliated with The Last Plastic Straw?
A: No, but we share a similar mission and they are aware of our group.
Q: I’m concerned the additional cost of paper straws will impact my restaurant's bottom line.
A: Although the price of paper straws is a about 1 cent more than plastic straws, restaurants that have switched to paper straws on request have seen straw use decrease. Because fewer straws are provided, overall costs are less.
Q: Will the City of Takoma Park help with the transition?
A: Thanks to funding from The City of Takoma Park, The Last Plastic Straw Takoma Park will provide restaurants with paper straw samples, posters and downloadable flyers that will assist you in educating patrons.
Upon request, volunteers from The Last Plastic Straw Takoma Park will assist you with training your staff during the transition. Phasing out plastic straws will require a behavior change which involves more than just switching from plastic to paper. The message to the community is that most of us really don’t need straws to drink. Those who need a straw, can request a paper or plastic straw if they have a disability.
Q: Because I have a disability, it’s hard for me to drink from a glass or cup, so I have to use a straw. I’ve found that some paper straws collapse, so I need something sturdy like plastic. Will I be able to get a plastic straw?
A: We advise restaurants to hold on to some plastic straws specifically for people with disabilities.
Q: Why did the world start using straws?
A: According to Wikipedia, the first straws were made by the Sumerians, who used them for drinking beer. More recently, straws were made from rye grass. But they disintegrated in drinks and altered their taste. This led to the invention of the paper straw by Marvin Stone in Washington, D.C. By 1889, his factory was producing 2 million straws a day. In the 1960s, paper straws were replaced by more durable plastic. Paper straws are once again being manufactured in response to legislation and environmental concerns.
Q: In my fast-food restaurant, most people order drinks to-go, requiring a lid with a straw. Paper straws cost more than plastic, so this will cost me more money! How can you help?
A: Here is best way to address this challenge:
• Display our free posters and downloadable flyers to educate your patrons that they must request a straw in order to receive one.
• Train your staff to only provide straws upon request. Upon request, we can assist you.
• Sell your own Earth-friendly reusable containers with your company logo. Offer a discount or refill price when customers bring their own beverage container. This will reduce waste and build good will because both you and your customer will save money while being environmentally responsible.
Q: Our restaurant is about to switch to paper straws. What should we do with our plastic straws?
A: We encourage you to keep your plastic straws so that you may provide them to patrons who need them because of a disability. If your supply of plastic straws is so large that you don’t want to keep all of them, you may donate the rest them to Silver Spring Creative Reuse, which will donate them to local arts organizations.
Q: Are plastic straws recyclable?
A: The city of Takoma Park does not accept plastic straws in their recycling stream. Plastic straws end up in land fills, where it takes 500 years for them to decompose.