Bon Appétit Management, a sustainable food-service company, is buying wholesale paper straws. The restaurant group boasts eateries at major U.S. college campuses, museums and other institutions and is banning plastic straws, at 1,000 locations in 33 states. With the plastic bans comes wholesale paper straws in it’s wake. The plastic ban will be complete by September 2019. As an alternative to plastic straws, this food-service company will offer paper straws.
Plastic straws have become an issue because they can foul beaches or waterways and, in most cases, aren’t really necessary for drinking. Americans use an estimated 500 million disposable plastic straws every day, according to Eco-Cycle, a Boulder, Colo.-based non-profit recycler. While that fact is disputed, the number of straws showing up on beach shores and water ways is not. It’s much easier to curb plastic’s half live by simply pivoting to paper straws which deteriorate within 90 days. For this reason, many restaurant groups are buying wholesale paper straws.
McDonald’s is testing paper straws in the United Kingdom and putting plastic ones behind the counter, available only upon request. Other industries are taking now as well, including the airlines. However, shareholders of the Oak Brook, Ill. based burger chain voted against a proposal that called on the company to study the business risks of using plastic straws. Though not everyone has made the switch, the conversation is alive and well for a larger effort industry wide to get ahead of a cultural climate that values sustainability over comfortably.
Bon Appétit, based in Palo Alto, Calif., bought 16.8 million plastic straws and close to 420,000 plastic stirrers in its fiscal year ended Aug. 31. This is seen as another eco-friendly effort by private company’s to take tangible actions in curbing their carbon footprint. Environmental friendly partnerships between food-service companies and public sectors are growing as single use plastic consumption is increasingly seen as taboo. Pivoting towards wholesale paper straws, is a first productive step in this effort.
Bon Appétit’s CEO, Fedele Bauccio added that the new straws are made of compostable cardboard-like material that doesn’t become mushy, the common complaint about paper straws. The company, currently deciding between two suppliers, knows either version will be more expensive than plastic ones but won’t pass the cost along to customers. “We want to do the right thing for the environment,” Bauccio said. “Hopefully, this will spark other people in the industry to follow. … We are a large company and can set an example. For this reason, they will be purchasing wholesale paper straws in the immediate future for their clients.