The push to reduce the number of single-use plastic straws is making headlines around the world including in Halifax, where a municipal councillor plans to raise the issue later this week.
“On Thursday, at our environmental and sustainability committee, I’m bringing forward a motion to look at reducing plastic straws in our community,” said Tony Mancini, councillor for Harbourview-Burnside-Dartmouth East.
The Ecology Action Centre says the less plastic we can use, the better. They would like to see a ban on plastic straws with some exceptions.
“Some people needs straws and if you’re in a situation where that’s the only way you can drink, of course, we’re not saying don’t use a straw,” said Mark Butler, executive director of the Ecology Action Centre.
“This is just an example of how we can reduce our plastic use. We use plastic way too much and way too freely and unfortunately because some of us are litter bugs it’s ending up in the environment and that’s not good for everybody.”
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The Wooden Monkey Restaurant has always had biodegradable straws but are now taking things a step further – customers will no longer automatically get a straw.
“We just realized we just don’t need them anymore and I know there are other restaurants that also put the initiatives out here in Halifax” said Lil MacPherson, co-owner of the Wooden Monkey Restaurant.
“Just by request only, a straw by request. So were not serving any straws at all unless you ask for one.”
Stores like the Independent Mercantile on Gottingen Street are offering alternatives to the traditional plastic drinking straw.
“Straws to me is like a really easily replaceable choice that we can that helps the environment and often allows us to use something more beautiful,” said store owner Wendy Friedman.
“We have copper straws, we have stainless steel, we also have glass straws that have a bigger opening that are great for things like smoothies and milk shakes and we also do carry paper straws which is a throwback to how straws originally started but there better for the environment.”
Besides looking at banning plastic straws, Mancini says he’d like to see a wider ban on plastic within the Halifax Regional Municipality and across the province.
“My ultimate goal overall would be a ban on single-use plastic,” said Mancini.
“You know, whether it’s the shopping bag or whether it’s straws or when you go to a super market and you get your four or five pieces of vegetables that’s in a styrofoam tray wrapped with plastic. It’s unnecessary. So ideally, we’ll want to be able to ban all of that if we can.”