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Say no to unfantastic plastic: Straws suck, it’s official


Say no to unfantastic plastic: Straws suck, it’s official

Responsible restaurants have ditched the pollutants

Senior reporter

Straws suck.
That’s the mantra of some South African restaurants trying to end the era of plastic straws. 
Potentially harmful bottles and packets are also been shown the door as responsible eateries take small steps towards helping to save the environment.
After Durban-founded Afros Chicken ditched straws it has gone a step further by banning plastic bottles.
Afros posted on its social media platforms: “Last year we committed ourselves to helping reduce our environmental impact on the oceans. Our goal is to remove all single-use plastic from our shop. In June 2017 we ditched plastic straws; today we are proud to say that we have switched all our water from plastic bottles to glass.“We’re not 100% there yet but we’re staying committed to our goals and will be looking at alternatives to our plastic forks as well as other plastic bottled beverages still available in store.”
Others have followed suit, such as Ocean Basket, healthfood chain Kauai and the Spur Corporation which owns John Dory’s, Spur Steak Ranches, Panarottis, and RocoMamas.
Spur spokesman Moshe Apleni said takeaway containers, plastic bags and plastic straws “provide a convenience to our customers but they also contribute waste to landfill and environmental pollution if not managed properly.
“Our packaging contains relevant information to educate and encourage customers to recycle or dispose of takeaway containers and related items in a responsible manner.
“We are, however, aware that some single-use items do end up in our waterways, oceans and natural habitats. Plastic straws are one of these items that are not always necessary and which cause pollution and physical harm to marine life.”
Apleni said the restaurant franchisor has been working on viable alternatives and is currently running trials with paper and other materials.
“We are further redesigning our operational processes to minimise wasteful behaviour by not automatically handing out a straw with every drink, with the view to phase out plastic straws completely as the main objective.“RocoMamas are already stating on their menu that straws are available on request. In addition we have started testing paper straws at John Dory’s and have received great supportive feedback from customers,” said Apleni.
Healthfood chain Kauai, which is part of the Real Foods Group, has changed its policy to “straws on request only”.
“We ran an in-store trial in late 2017 and implemented the change nationally in all our stores in early 2018,” said Lorna Pretorius, Real Foods Group spokeswoman.
“Kauai is sensitive to the impact that a business like ours has on the environment.”
Almost of all its packaging such as smoothie cups and salad bowls, as well as straws, is 100% recyclable.
“From mid-March we will no longer be serving smoothie cup lids or coffee cup lids with our drinks. These will be available, along with straws, on request,” said Pretorius.
Durban’s popular Arts Cafe, at the KZNSA Gallery, has also implemented a “no straws” policy.
“When we first introduced the policy we had to deal with many customer complaints.  It’s made us realise the role we need to play in mindful consumption and how we can contribute to awareness of the world’s environmental crisis,” said Monique Kurvers, manager of the cafe.
On the wall of the cafe is a giant mural of Popeye crushing straws in his hand. Its caption reads: “Refuse the straw.”

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