Vancouver Island University student pub server Jesse Bixby, left, and Janelle Wilson, pub manager, with a drink at the university’s pub on Tuesday. The pub no longer includes a straw with drink orders. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

This is the last straw for Nanaimo pubs

VIU’s student pub and the Dinghy Dock Pub are no longer serving plastic straws to customers

Two Nanaimo establishments have decided to go strawless.

Vancouver Island University Students’ Union Pub and the Dinghy Dock Pub are no longer serving plastic straws to customers.

Janelle Wilson, pub coordinator, Vancouver Island University Students’ Union, said the pub stopped providing plastic straws with drink orders in early November, adding that the reaction from customers has been positive.

“Nobody has said anything negative about it,” she said. “If anything, we’ve had people commenting on it saying ‘I am really sorry, but I need a straw, but I do care about the environment.’”

The student pub was going through an average of 5,000 plastic straws a month and almost every drink on their menu came with a straw, according to Wilson, who said the pub has seen a significant reduction in the amount of garbage it throws out since going strawless.

“Thursdays are usually a busier day and evening for us and the start of the semester we had our garbage bins pretty much overflowing every Thursday,” she said. “Now our garbage bins are half full.”

Wilson said the pub will provide plastic straws to customers who specifically request them and that it plans to order biodegradable straws in the future for those who request a straw. She said while straws had also been used to help servers and customers differentiate between drinks that were doubles and singles, there are other options.

“It’s easily avoidable by using garnish like lemons and limes,” Wilson said.

The move to go strawless comes as communities and restaurants throughout North America, the United Kingdom and Australia move towards banning plastic straws, which can often end up in rivers, lakes and oceans. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, 500 million plastic straws are used each day in the United States and they are also one of the most commonly found items during beach cleanups.

Earlier this month, the Dinghy Dock Pub announced on Facebook that it would no longer provide plastic straws to customers unless specifically requested.

Bryanna Pearson, manager with the Dinghy Dock Pub, said the establishment was going through about 200 straws per day and was heavily influenced by the student pub’s decision. She said plastic straws are a luxury that most people can do without.

“Straws just seem like something everyone needs, but it really isn’t a need,” Pearson said. “It’s a luxury and it is not something that needs to be had by everybody.”

So far feedback has been mostly positive from customers, according to Pearson, who said the only complaint came from someone with concerns about teeth sensitivity.

“We’ve received so much support. It has been amazing. People have been thrilled about it. I think everybody in Nanaimo and on the West Coast are very conscious about recycling and the small changes we can make to better our planet,” she said.

Pearson said she’s well aware of the negative impact plastic straws can have on the environment. She said she hopes the announcement will spur other restaurants in the community to stop serving plastic straws as well.

“Every little bit counts,” she said.


nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook or follow Nicholas Pescod on Twitter

Just Posted

Vancouver Island leads nation in medically assisted deaths

Island residents choose assisted death five times more than other Canadians

Man injured in Vancouver Island racetrack accident meets, holds son for first time

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Study: teenage pot use leads to wide variety of outcomes

UVic psychology researcher studied cannabis use among youth for more than a decade

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Oak Bay’s wolf of Discovery Island ‘alive and healthy’

Park remains open to the public; domestic animals prohibited

VIDEO: Leaf Compassion celebrates legalization in Courtenay

Leaf Compassion in Courtenay celebrated the official legalization of marijuana in Courtenay… Continue reading

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Kawhi Leonard scores 24 as Raptors beat Cavs 116-104

Prize acquisition sparkles in debut for Toronto

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Greater Victoria home builders knock down speculation tax

VRBA’s Casey Edge calls speculation tax “dishonest” and ineffective in dealing with housing crisis

Island resident facing numerous charges in Comox Valley shooting

A 27-year-old Saanich resident had his preliminary hearing in Courtenay Wednesday as… Continue reading

Legalization at the legislature: Victoria celebrates with free cannabis

Longtime cannabis activist Dana Larsen hands out free joints, seeds, plants

UPDATE: Pay Bay Highway traffic moving again after motorcyclist rear-ended

Three vehicle collision stalled traffic in southbound lane Wednesday shortly before 4 p.m.

Most Read