Vancouver Island University student pub server Jesse Bixby, left, and Janelle Wilson, pub manager, with a drink at the university’s pub on Tuesday. The pub no longer includes a straw with drink orders. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Vancouver Island University student pub server Jesse Bixby, left, and Janelle Wilson, pub manager, with a drink at the university’s pub on Tuesday. The pub no longer includes a straw with drink orders. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Pair of pubs in Nanaimo scrap straws

VIU Students’ Union Pub, Dinghy Dock Pub no longer put straws in drinks

Two Nanaimo establishments have decided to go strawless.

Vancouver Island University Students’ Union Pub and the Dinghy Dock Pub are no longer serving plastic straws to customers.

Janelle Wilson, pub coordinator, Vancouver Island University Students’ Union, said the pub stopped providing plastic straws with drink orders in early November, adding that the reaction from customers has been positive.

“Nobody has said anything negative about it,” she said. “If anything, we’ve had people commenting on it saying ‘I am really sorry, but I need a straw, but I do care about the environment.’”

The student pub was going through an average of 5,000 plastic straws a month and almost every drink on their menu came with a straw, according to Wilson, who said the pub has seen a significant reduction in the amount of garbage it throws out since going strawless.

“Thursdays are usually a busier day and evening for us and the start of the semester we had our garbage bins pretty much overflowing every Thursday,” she said. “Now our garbage bins are half full.”

Wilson said the pub will provide plastic straws to customers who specifically request them and that it plans to order biodegradable straws in the future for those who request a straw. She said while straws had also been used to help servers and customers differentiate between drinks that were doubles and singles, there are other options.

“It’s easily avoidable by using garnish like lemons and limes,” Wilson said.

The move to go strawless comes as communities and restaurants throughout North America, the United Kingdom and Australia move towards banning plastic straws, which can often end up in rivers, lakes and oceans. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, 500 million plastic straws are used each day in the United States and they are also one of the most commonly found items during beach cleanups.

Earlier this month, the Dinghy Dock Pub announced on Facebook that it would no longer provide plastic straws to customers unless specifically requested.

Bryanna Pearson, manager with the Dinghy Dock Pub, said the establishment was going through about 200 straws per day and was heavily influenced by the student pub’s decision. She said plastic straws are a luxury that most people can do without.

“Straws just seem like something everyone needs, but it really isn’t a need,” Pearson said. “It’s a luxury and it is not something that needs to be had by everybody.”

So far feedback has been mostly positive from customers, according to Pearson, who said the only complaint came from someone with concerns about teeth sensitivity.

“We’ve received so much support. It has been amazing. People have been thrilled about it. I think everybody in Nanaimo and on the West Coast are very conscious about recycling and the small changes we can make to better our planet,” she said.

Pearson said she’s well aware of the negative impact plastic straws can have on the environment. She said she hopes the announcement will spur other restaurants in the community to stop serving plastic straws as well.

“Every little bit counts,” she said.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

Westcoast Impressions plans to organize a COVID-19 friendly version of the event in 2021 at the Mary Winspear Centre after having cancelled the 2020 version against the backdrop of pandemic. The opening night of the 2019 Sidney Street Market featured more than 150 vendors lined along Beacon Avenue. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney Street Market plans for 2021 return at Mary Winspear Centre

Tentative plan calls for the event’s return to Beacon Avenue after COVID-19 pandemic

An aerial view over Oak Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
An aerial view over Oak Bay and the Marina. Oak Bay residents pay the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. Don Denton/Black Press
Oak Bay secondary suites study considers units old and new

Secondary suites draft report due in new year

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read