Are you thinking about making your cafeteria more environmentally-friendly? In addition to cutting down on general food waste, consider switching to paper straws. Paper straws are biodegradable and safer for the environment. When purchased from a reputable source, they are also convenient, high quality, attractive, and durable. Here are a few tips for making the transition.
Tip #1: Provide Straws Upon Request
Rather than having straws in an open location — such as with the condiments and napkins — let people ask when they want a straw. This can substantially reduce your waste and your costs. Many people will take a straw if you just hand it to them, only to throw it away. People may also overestimate their need for a straw if it’s out to be taken.
Tip #2: Get High Quality Straws
High quality paper straws are substantially different than the average paper straw. Average paper straws will fall apart within a few minutes and will taste like paper. A high quality paper straw — such as those provided by FarfromBoring Hospitality — will hold up for hours and won’t taste any different from a plastic straw. Paper straws provide a better experience and will encourage people to use them in the future.
Tip #3: Stock Multiple Sizes of Straws
Not all paper straws are identical. There are different types of straws available for different uses, from standard sodas to thick shakes. Providing an assortment of straws will make it easier for people to finish their drinks. A too large paper straw could collapse, while a too small paper straw will be ineffective; either way, you don’t want your customers to have a negative experience.
Tip #4: Consider Composting
While your paper straws may not be able to be recycled, you can consider composting them. As a cafeteria, it’s likely that you have some amount of waste. Your food waste and paper straws can be used to provide fertilizer, which can eventually be used for herb and vegetable gardens (or even the landscaping surrounding the building).
Tip #5: Check Your Laws
Laws are changing. In some areas, it’s now illegal to have plastic straws at all. If you’re already considering a switch to paper straws, you might also want to take a look at your local legislature. It’s possible plastic straws will be banned in your area soon as well. In that situation, it’s best to make the switch as soon as possible rather than delaying.
Tip #6: Don’t Stop at Straws
Other plastic items, such as stir sticks, can also be replaced by safer biodegradable options. Any plastic that’s single use and thrown away is extremely damaging to the environment; many of these items are never recycled and will instead end up spending decades in a landfill. For stir sticks, you can consider wood stir sticks, compressed paper stir sticks, or even providing metal spoons instead.
Cafeterias are uniquely poised for change, as they serve a large volume of people and consequently complete a larger volume of purchases than most other restaurants or hospitality companies. Paper straws are better for the environment — and with a few changes such as those above, they can also be better for your budget. For more information (or to get a quote for bulk paper straws), contact FarfromBoring Hospitality.