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

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich residents warned to watch livestock after bear kills llama

Officers with Conservation, Saanich police could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

More than 250 riders took part in the fifth annual Tripleshot CrossFondo, which riders across parts of the Saanich Peninsula, including this field near Sluggett Farms. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Tripleshot CrossFondo rides across Saanich Peninsula

More than 250 cyclists took part in mystery-course race

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A 23-foot sailboat that broke free from its anchor was smashed against Cattle Point during the early October south-easterly storms. (Ron Geezin Photo)
Storm-smashed boat pulled off rocks of Cattle Point in Oak Bay

Sailboat a casualty of last week’s big storms

Saanich police are warning residents to be aware of a non-aggressive bear sighting in the 400-block of Haliburton Terrace. (Black Press Media file photo)
Non-aggressive bear spotted in Saanich neighbourhood

Saanich police advise residents to be aware of sighting in the 400-block of Haliburton Terrace

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read