New Canaan restaurant switches to paper straws
NEW CANAAN — Out with plastic, in with paper.
Amid a growing national and international trend against the use of plastic, a local establishment has made the switch to paper straws.
Cherry Street East restaurant owner John Bergin said his decision was based to environmental concerns.
“We’re slowly trying to steer away from plastic,” Bergin said. “It costs a little more, a lot more, but it’s worth it. There’s just so many plastic bags and items in the ocean and we want to help.”
According to Aardvark, a paper straw company, the price difference between the paper and plastic straws “varies greatly depending on quanitity” and that paper straws are “approximately $0.01 more than harmful plastic straws.”
Plastic waste has gained more attention in recent months. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans threw out more than 33 million tons of plastic in 2014, generating enormous amounts of trash in landfills and oceans.
The restaurant has been using paper straws since March and joins dozens of other companies in efforts to reduce their plastic footprint in recent months.
Last Friday, McDonald’s announced plans to phase out plastic straws in its United Kingdom restaurants by the end of 2018.
Earlier this month, SeaWorld Entertainment, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Ikea pledged to remove plastic straws and plastic shopping bags from their establishments, beginning this year until 2020.
A regular customer at Cherry Street East, however, said he preferred plastic straws, as the paper ones tended to fall apart if left in the drink too long.
Bergin said people who are given an option will go with the paper or no straw at all. “When the opportunity is there, people will sometimes not even use the straws,” Bergin said. “Paper straws were also used in the 1960s and there’s just way too much plastic in the ocean.”
Planet New Canaan, an organization focused on raising awareness about environmental issues in town, applauded the restaurant’s decision.
“Cherry Street East have made the switched (sic) to paper straws,” a Facebook post from the organization said May 28. “Even though currently more expensive, their concern for the environment and the oceans is the reason why they made the switch. Bravo!”
New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy congratulated the restaurant on its change.
“Last night, I attended a talk sponsored by Planet New Canaan on waste management and the situation is really alarming,” Murphy said.