Nova Scotia

Some Halifax restaurants giving up plastic straws, stir sticks

The Stubborn Goat Gastropub, Durty Nelly's, Scanway, The Rooftop and The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden were using about 500,000 plastic straws per year, but co-owner Geir Simensen says they're cutting back on that waste.

'We were a little taken aback by how many we were using,' said Geir Simensen, co-owner of Durty Nelly's

Several Halifax restaurants are hoping to save 500,000 straws from going into the landfill each year. (Dmitry Galaganov/Shutterstock)

Some restaurants in Halifax are looking to cut back on waste by taking straws and plastic stir sticks off the menu.

The Stubborn Goat Gastropub, Durty Nelly's, Scanway, The Rooftop and The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden were all using about 500,000 plastic straws per year.

"We were a little taken aback by how many we were using. And when we were looking at some other things that we do to try and be a little bit nicer to Mother Earth, this one here seemed like an easy choice for us," said co-owner Geir Simensen.

"It seems like the responsible thing to do."

'What do we do with these straws?'

Simensen said they started counting straws after opening The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden along the waterfront, which uses compostable cutlery, plates and paper.

"Then we started looking at our beverages and we're like, but what do we do with these straws? These straws are none of those things. And so then it was, maybe we just won't use straws," he said.

From there, Simensen said they began counting the number of straws served at the restaurant annually, which is what made the group decide to get rid of the straws altogether.

Geir Simensen is co-owner of The Stubborn Goat, Durty Nelly's and Scanway. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

"I think it's very habitual when we are out and dining. I know my kids at home it's not like they go have a glass of water and ask me for a straw. But when they're out they always get a straw," he said.

"I'm sure we probably spend about $1,000 on straws which isn't that much when you compare it to how many beverages we sell as a group. So it's not a financial incentive, it's a bit of a moral thing."

Simensen said while most people haven't noticed the change, they did have at least one customer put off by the lack of straws.

"It was a little funny actually. He said, 'Do you know how many lips have been on this glass?' Yet he had no concerns about the fact his fork was OK, his spoon was OK, but the straw really kind of put him off," he said.

For drinks with garnish, they're now served with biodegradable bamboo skewers. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

Hopes others will follow

He said they're looking into alternatives to the plastic straw to have on hand if a customer really insists on using one, but they haven't found an eco-friendly straw yet.

Simensen said he hopes to see other restaurants in the area get rid of their straws, too.

"When we act a little bit responsibly, I think our customers appreciate that and would support us on that — and it's easier if we're all kind of following this."

With files from Maritime Noon

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