Enough with the straws!

Probably only worthy of a mini rant but I feel a full thread is necessary.

One straw per meal is more then enough. The practice of supplying a new straw with every drink at restaurants is so incredibly wasteful it drives me nuts.

I used to not use straws at all but eventually I just gave in. I got tired or making a request ‘no straw’ and not have waiters understand or ending up with a straw in my drink i then had to take out, leaving me with a wet straw on my table or poking myself in the eye because I left it in and didn’t use it. Also since the straw was brought out anyway it defeats my personal conservation effort anyway. I’ve given in to accept and use a straw.

I usually drink at least 3-4 glasses of water or diet soda with my meals. With a refill they always supply a new straw. Sometimes I’m quick enough to grab my old straw and put it in the new drink before they drop another one but usually what happens is I and my party end up with a pile of unopened straws on the table because the waitresses automatically drop a new one with each drink. These unused straws almost always get thrown out.

I don’t get why this continues to be a thing. It’s wasteful for the business and no longer provides the alleged benefit they started this practice for. In the past when refills weren’t free it was important to make sure everyone always had a straw because using a straw causes people to drink fast and thus sell more soda’s.

Who are the people that need a new straw with every refill? Why do we need this service for them?

Why can’t we just save a billion pounds of extra plastic from being wasted. Would waiters asking ‘Do you need a new straw’ be to much effort?’ How much money could be saved not providing an endless waste of straws?

On the flip side and an internal conflict. If you don’t offer free refills refilling my drink is completely unacceptable. If your going to charge my for it I expect a new clean glass new ice and a new fucking straw. Asking ‘do you want a refill’ then charging me for it is bullshit. ‘Asking would you like another’ is fine.

/random profanity and such to make the thread more pit-worthy

My understanding is that health codes require them to give you a fresh straw with every drink.

What a wonderfully pathetic topic to get angry about. Imagine the germaphobes response if you get your way and straws become outlawed due to environmental concerns?

Besides…you never know just how clean they are getting their glassware. May as well just kiss the table.

That’s why I never kiss 'em on the mouth.

Dammit, sometimes you have to.

Straws don’t need to be outlawed - just have each individual re-use their straw if they get multiple refills at one meal. There’s no reason to get four straws just because your water gets refilled three times.

Um - I hate to tell you this but the drink is touching the glass it’s in. Any germs in the glass get in the liquid anyways.

The alternative would be to engineer the straws such that they were only good for one drink and started to dissolve around the time you were done with it, so that you’d need a new one with each drink.

This would suck.

Really? A billion pounds of unwanted straws? A BILLION?

Could be a health code thing where you are.

Most of the restaurants I go to have you reuse your straw no matter how many refills you get. They don’t usually reuse the glasses. This includes major chains too.

People should have to bring their own straws to restaurants. Or maybe we should outlaw refills? People should eat at home; think of all the shoe leather wasted by waitstaff. Anybody remember reusable ketchup bottles? I don’t.

I’ve been saying this for years at felching parties. Rinse and repeat, people!

So I’m curious - what would you say was the last straw that made you decide to post this?

At fast food restaurants, no. But pretty much any other restaurant will have a selection of sauces in bottles that are refilled every night.

ETA: When my waiter brings me a new drink, I just move my straw over before they can take my old glass away. Never had a problem with that.

Well, eventually, yeah. Somebody will be along in a minute to tell us how long that will take.

This is the sort of myopic environmentalism that drives me nuts. (Arghhh!)

Most people have absolutely no fucking idea how much stuff is belched into the atmosphere, thrown on the ground, and flushed down the drain elsewhere in the world.

I’ve been to countries with millions of people who have barely any concern for the environment and legislation is a joke. These countries will take any and all manufacturing companies; screw the environment, we need jobs! The labour is cheap, so are taxes, and fuck the environment. These are the new prosperous countries with whom we’re trying to unsuccessfully compete.

And let’s be honest, this is how all industrialized nations started out. Now environmental protection is so ingrained in our culture that it takes years for companies to jump through the hoops to operate within the legislated requirements. So, do I open a plant in North America with labour and union and environmental shit to deal with? Or do I open a plant in China or The Philippines with cheap labor and no environmental concerns? Hmmmmmm…

You micro-environmental douchebags banning plastic bags, straws, pesticides, smoking on patios, incandescent light bulbs, and promoting composting and recycling are fooling yourselves. You’re promoting ideas that make about as much sense as saying one less person on American Airlines Flight 11 might have saved the north tower.

Look, I’m all for leaving a clean planet for the kids and all, but straws? Fucking straws? What rock are you living under if you think fucking straws are a fucking problem?


Since you asked…

From here, the weight of a single straw from the first pack of flex straws is given as 0.36-0.37g. That’s 1,260 straws in a pound. Now how many restaurants are there in America? According to here, there were “566,020 Food Services and Drinking Places, 217,282 Full Service Restaurants, 266,534 Limited Service Eating Places, and 209,819 Limited Service Restaurants” as of 2007.

So let’s just assume for the sake of argument that “food services and drinking places” and “full service restaurants” are the main offenders in this straw debacle, for a total of 783,302 establishments. Now obviously there’s gonna be a lot of variance in customers, but I think a good conservative estimate of average customers per day per restaurant would be about 500. And let’s assume on average the number of refills, and thus straws, per customer is 2.4 (yeah I’m totally pulling this out of my ass). That amounts to 939,962,400 straws doled out per day in the U.S. alone. And using our previous estimate of 1,260 straws to the pound, that gives us 746,000 pounds of straws per day.

So it would take 1,340 days to reach a billion pounds of straws, which is about 3 years and 8 months. That’s just in the U.S. though, and my estimates are probably way off (I’d expect they are low, knowing what giant fatasses we are here).

ETA: I just like math, but I actually agree with Leaffan. A billion pounds of straws ain’t shit compared to everything else.

If you’re acting like the OP thinks that if we could just save a pound or two of plastic per restaurant per day, then we’d save the planet, and achieve world peace, and unicorns would fly out of my butt, then does that mean you’re engaging in…a strawman? :cool:

Just tell the waitress when you place your order that her tip will be dependent upon her ability to NOT bring you any straws. Lay down 5 one-dollar bills and tell her that for every straw that appears at your table, you will take one dollar off the pile. I think you will see a significant reduction in the number of straws.

Either they never do this anywhere I’ve eaten, or I just haven’t noticed it. How do you tell that it’s a new straw? Does this really happen, or is your argument just a strawman?

Really? Why? (and where?)

I’m familiar with health codes that require you to use new plate each time through the buffet, but that makes some sense.

Bring your own silly straw with you! The glasses kind that wrap around your face. They make you look hip, provide a wonderful cooling sensation, and the waitress will stop bringing you straws. Win-win-win, I say!

Like you’ve ever been to a party.