North

Some Yellowknife bars choosing to ditch plastic straws

A few Yellowknife business are following an international movement to cut out plastic straws.

The Black Knight Pub recently made the decision in an effort to be more environmentally friendly

Terry Hartwright is the manager of The Black Knight in Yellowknife. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

A few Yellowknife businesses are following an international movement to cut out plastic straws.

Last week, Britain announced plans to ban the sale of plastic straws, along with other single-use plastic products. The goal is to reduce waste and protect the environment.

In Yellowknife, The Black Knight Pub recently decided to phase out plastic straws, following similar movements in the rest of Canada.

"We all think it's important to be more eco-friendly," said manager Terry Hartwright, adding the pub also ditched Styrofoam takeout containers for biodegradable ones. The move will cost diners an extra 50 cents.

Hartwright said the pub is phasing out plastic bags and plastic cutlery as well. 

"It's just the time we're living in right now. We want to make the Earth a little bit of a better place," said Hartwright.

The Black Knight Pub had about a box and a half of straws left, as of Friday. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

The pub began eliminating plastic straws about two months ago, but announced its decision on its Facebook page two weeks ago.

Hartwright said the pub has about a case and a half of straws left. Once those run out, he won't be buying any more.

Instead, diners can use biodegradable straws if they ask for them.

The Woodyard Brewhouse and Eatery — another Yellowknife establishment — is also ditching plastic straws.

"The only way we'll serve one is if a customer specifically asks," said co-owner Fletcher Stevens.

"We do find it difficult to get away from it completely ... but we're slowly eliminating straws."

Stevens said the restaurant has worked to be eco-friendly since it opened, by only using compostable takeout containers.

A sign at the The Woodyard Brewhouse & Eatery shows this business is also following suit. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

As well, its brewery sends spent grains to Hay River's Northern Farm Training Institute to feed goats and other animals.

Stevens said he hopes to open a greenhouse and grow vegetables as another way to reduce waste.

'[Straws] take forever to break down'

Craig Scott, the executive director of Ecology North, said plastic straws create some of the worst litter.

"They take forever to break down," he said.

"When they do break down, they break down into little pieces of plastic. They never really ever fully biodegrade so it just gets into smaller and smaller pieces."

Scott said getting rid of straws is a step in the right direction and he'd like to see more local businesses follow suit.

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