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Brescia trading plastic straws for biodegradable paper straws on campus

A general view of plastic straws, as environmentalists have backed a new campaign calling on both the Scottish and UK governments to crack down on the use of plastic drinking straws. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images). Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)

Brescia University is joining in a widespread effort to reject single-use plastic straws.

Much like students returning to Western University, the university college’s nearly 1,500 students will find biodegradable paper straws across campus at the start of school year.

Brescia estimates this will keep more than 25,000 plastic straws out of landfill per year.

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According to a press release, the paper straws will last three hours in a cold drink and will biodegrade within the environment in three to four months.

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“Since our founding in 1919, the Ursuline Sisters prioritized the preservation and conservation of our natural world,” said Tim D’Souza, manager of food services at Brescia.

“Almost 100 years later, we are proud to build upon their mission and to work towards a more sustainable future for our students and our community.”

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A transition towards paper straws isn’t the university college’s only environmental footprint-reducing initiative. It also launched a takeout container program to limit the use of single-use food containers that encourages the purchasing of eco-friendly containers that can be returned, cleaned, and re-used through Brescia food services.

D’Souza also acknowledges a switch to paper straws is only a small piece of a larger issue, and it might not be feasible for some students.

“We will make exceptions where needed,” he said.

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“We do, however, look forward to continuing to engage in these vital discussions around sustainability and finding new and innovative ways to contribute to these types of tangible initiatives.”

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Straws have become the flashpoint in a global crusade against plastic waste; several cities, businesses, and world leaders have pledged to ban the plastic products in an effort to rid the world’s bodies of water of waste.

Part of the reason plastic straws became such a hot-button issue is because of a viral video, which showed marine biologists removing a straw from a sea turtle’s nostril.

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