July 13, 2017 12:48 pm
Updated: July 13, 2017 4:44 pm

‘They are just so damaging’: Halifax restaurateur issues a partial ban on plastic straws

WATCH: Campaigns to ban plastic straws in restaurants are gaining worldwide traction because of the harm they cause to the environment. Now one Halifax restaurateur is following suit and wants others to do the same. Dave Squires reports.

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The owner of a downtown Halifax eatery is on an environmental mission to plastic straws from restaurants, and he’s starting with his own.

“We started looking at how many straws do we actually use within a company and we realize it’s about half a million straws a year,” said Geir Simensen, owner of the The Stubborn Goat.

That half a million also includes straws from Durty Nelly’s, Scanway, The Rooftop and The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden who are all also on board with the plastic straw ban.

Citing environmental concerns and the threat they pose to the marine life, last month Simensen decided to only provide straws to customers by request.

“Straws don’t go away, they are just so damaging,” he said.

“If someone really demands it…sure…we’re in the customer service industry. If that’s what the customer wants then will absolutely provide that.”

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Plastic straws have become a hot-button issue for environmentalists, and interest has surged after a video of marine biologists removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nostril went viral on YouTube. (WARNING: The graphic video can be seen here)

“We don’t think about it. We live in a society where unfortunately we put things in the garbage and it just magically goes away. But it doesn’t really go away. It ends up in the ocean and Nova Scotia it’s beauty is in our shoreline is in the ocean and the things around us. And I think we have a bit of a responsibility to help out with that,” said Simensen

The Stubborn Goat has already been joined by Durty Nelly’s, The Rooftop and Scanway Catering and they’re hoping other Halifax restaurants to follow suit.

Simensen says the next step is to find a biodegradable solution, to ban the plastic straws all together.

Ecology Action Centre Approved

With reports indicating that plastic in the ocean could outweigh fish by 2050, the province’s Ecology Action Centre is approving the move.

“I think it’s a great initiative. I think it’s really exciting that the private sector is starting to take some of these initiatives,” said Susanna Fuller with the Centre.

“Its one of the superfluous things, we don’t actually need it. And it’s one of those things we can go through five or six in a day with takeout drinks.”

READ MORE: Plastic in ocean could outweigh fish by 2050: report

Fuller says reducing single use plastic is a something everyone can do. She says this move by The Stubborn Goat will open a debate that could eventually see the municipality create a bylaw on the issue.

“In a couple of years we would probably be ready. Some cities are already getting rid of plastic water bottles and putting in fountains again.”

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