Huntsville restaurants stop handing out plastic straws

Two restaurants now have a new straw policy for customers.

Posted: May 10, 2018 6:46 PM

The next time you go out to eat in Huntsville you might not get a plastic straw with your drink right away, unless you ask for it.

Some restaurants are starting this new policy to do their part to prevent the use of plastics that end up in our worlds oceans...

The Hammer family of Huntsville have different opinions about using straws.

"At a restaurant I like using lip to glass," said Mike Hammer.

"I don't know, I like using a straw. I guess I'm used to that," said Debbie Hammer.

Below the Radar Brewhouse in Huntsville is one of two restaurants in the city who are trying to push customers toward Mike Hammer's view of not using straws.

The Last Plastic Straw is the environmental protection organization in California that came up with this idea to get rid of straws all together, use paper straws, or only provide plastic straws once a customer asks for them.

Brad Robison is the Head Brewer at Below the Radar.

He helped make the restaurants decision to adopt the policy.

"We kinda wanted to lead from the front. Start something different. Make a change for the community and not just for the community, but for the world, if we can. If we can show as a business that we'll go through and do something like that maybe other businesses will hop on board and want to do the same thing," said Robison.

Some people told WAAY 31 they choose to get a straw, because they don't necessarily think restaurant glasses are that clean.

Below the Radar said that shouldn't be in your thought process on whether or not you're going to get one.

"Look at people drinking beer. They're not using a straw to drink their beer, so it's kind of the same thing. All glasses are getting sanitized and cleaned the same way, so it's not like you're putting your mouth on a dirty glass," said Robison.

Below the Radar's policy started 2 weeks ago, but they've already noticed a significant decrease in the amount of straws they use.

The Last Plastic Straw told WAAY 31 the roughly 1000 restaurants throughout the country doing this see an 80-90% decrease in the amount of straws used by customers.

To put that into perspective: one medium sized restaurant can save 2 million straws a year, which starts to put a dent in the 500 million straws used by Americans every day, according to the environmental protection group.

The Hammers heard those numbers and are a little skeptical about the impact of a policy like this.

"I don't know what a big impact that will make. Obviously, you've got the straw and you always have paper or something else around the straw. I guess it will make some impact. Every little bit helps," said Mike and Debbie Hammer.

The 2nd restaurant in Huntsville with this policy is The Lumberyard near downtown.

They tell us they've also seen a lot fewer people using straws since their policy started.

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