The last straw? Winnipeg businesses consider alternatives to plastic

Plant-based straws like these may start showing up in more restaurants. Mike Postovit / Corus Entertainment

After a popular Winnipeg restaurant announced plans to ditch plastic straws, other local establishments are taking a hard look at the amount of plastic they use.

Starting June 1, Salisbury House will replace all straws with a bio-degradable alternative.

READ MORE: Salisbury House ditching plastic straws

At Exchange District restaurant Clementine, the switch to compostable straws was made last summer.

“We thought it was smart,” said co-owner Chris Gama. “We go through way less straws than we used to.”

Clementine has implemented a model that only gives straws out to customers if they’re requested.

Osborne Village’s Carlos & Murphy’s does the same thing. They said Wednesday their waste has gone down because ten drinks no longer means ten straws.

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At Portage Avenue’s Tipsy Cow, straws are still used in pop and some cocktails — but that could be changing very soon.

“In a year from now, I would definitely like to be straw free,” co-owner Josh Mesojednik said, “if not, a lot sooner.

“The obvious answer [why] is the environment and I just feel like they’re an unnecessary use of plastic that we don’t need.”

The Winnipeg bars are joining the ranks of many others, including every restaurant in Seattle, Miami Beach and Malibu.

Other places in Canada, like British Columbia, have recently announced plans to reduce the use of disposable items, including coffee cups and straws that can be more harmful to the environment.

READ MORE: Britain is banning plastic straws — and asking Canada to join

But even though steps are being taken, Winnipeggers shouldn’t expect to see a municipal single-use plastic ban come up anytime soon. Mayor Brian Bowman said it’s not something he’s looked into.

But that doesn’t mean it’s something he wouldn’t support.

“I would encourage other businesses to consider,” Bowman said. “You don’t always need government to tell you what to do and Salisbury House is demonstrating that right now.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’ll wait to make a decision on a country-wide plastic ban until after the G7 meetings in June.

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