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)

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

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-B.C. workers to staff Island vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island carpenter builds the ultimate tree fort

East Sooke Treehouse takes flight as an Airbnb

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

Most Read