Join Straw Wars with us!
As we move into summer (although recent rainfall might have you thinking otherwise) we’re set to see a big surge in smoothie and iced coffee sales at Mount Currie Coffee Co in Whistler and Pemberton, as customers opt for a refreshing 100% fruit smoothie or cooling iced latte over their usual hot brew. And every iced drink we sell usually means a straw is used…but not any more.
We’ve joined Straw Wars Whistler – the movement to eradicate the billions of straws that are trashed annually. While a small straw may not seem like a huge problem, when you look at the reliance on this single-use item on a global scale, it becomes starkly apparent that this unnecessary habit poses a huge threat to the health of our planet. At MCCC, we’ve long been using biodegradable, compostable straws made from corn PLA, but we’d still like to join the campaign and minimise their usage where possible.
Non-biodegradable straws are made of the petroleum bi-product polypropylene – the very same stuff that fuels cars. Plastic straws do not degrade naturally, and when they do break down, they release harmful polluting toxins and degrade into tiny irretrievable pieces of plastic. Animals commonly mistake these small pieces of plastic for food which means plastic is slowly seeping into our entire eco-system, which has some seriously hazardous consequences for human health.
Plastic products also constitute more than 90% of all trash currently floating in the world’s oceans and straws make it annually on to the Ocean Conservancy’s Top 10 most collected items at beach cleanups.
In support at MCCC, we’ve now removed all straws from our self-service counters and we are asking customers to request if they want to use one with their drink. While some customers have seemed a little inconvenienced by having to ask us for a straw, others are fully embracing this eco-friendly movement and simply take the lid off their iced drink, sip and enjoy without the use of extra plastic.
In a beautiful resort town like Whistler – where the nature that surrounds us plays a huge role in the enjoyment of our outdoor lifestyles – there’s no real excuse to be using more packaging products than completely necessary.
You’ll be pleased to know that our straws, coffee cups, lids, clear smoothie containers and take-out cutlery are all made from bio-degrable materials. Adding to that, we strongly support the use of keep-cups for coffee and cold drinks, and offer an array of styles and sizes for sale at both our stores. We also give a $0.20 discount every time you purchase a drink with your own re-usable cup!
Vancouver straw ban
It’s pretty good timing then, that Vancouver City Council has just this week voted to approve a ban on plastic straws, polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers.
The ban on the distribution of these materials within city limits goes into effect on June 1, 2019, six months earlier than initially proposed. The approval of the bans and reduction strategies are part of the current City Council’s exciting vision of turning Vancouver into a ‘Zero Waste‘ city by 2040.
‘Cities around the world recognize the detrimental impacts of plastic waste on our environment and are taking bold steps to cut down or eliminate waste through bans and innovative reusable programs’ said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.
‘In Vancouver, we’re hearing strong support from local businesses, environmental groups and the general public and I’m confident that this comprehensive strategy will help us become a clean, zero-waste city.’
According to recent findings, a whopping 2.6 million to-go coffee cups are thrown in the trash in Vancouver every week. But overseas, business owners are getting the right idea. Independent coffee chain Boston Tea Party is believed to be the first in the UK to ban the sale of hot drinks in disposable cups.
From 1 June, the cafe-restaurant chain, which has 21 stores across England, will only sell hot drinks in reusable cups. Customers must either bring in their own mug, buy one in store or pay a deposit on one they can return to any branch.
And with countries like Taiwan planning a blanket-ban on single-use plastic items by 2030 including straws, cups, and shopping bags, let’s hope the rest of the world follows suit.
Some plastic facts:
Plastic never goes away. Plastic is a durable material made to last forever, yet illogically, 33% of it is used once and then thrown away. Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.
Plastic spoils our groundwater. There are thousands of landfills in North America. Buried beneath each one of them, plastic leachate full of toxic chemicals is seeping into groundwater and flowing downstream into lakes and rivers.
Plastic attracts other pollutants. Manufacturers’ additives in plastics, like flame retardants, BPAs and PVCs, can leach their own toxicants. These oily poisons repel water and stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic debris.
Plastic threatens wildlife. Entanglement, ingestion and habitat disruption all result from plastic ending up in the spaces where animals live. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36 to 1.
Plastic piles up into the environment. North Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year. Only 8% of that gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, is incinerated, or becomes the invasive species known as ‘litter.’
Plastic poisons our food chain. Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans, are eating microplastics and absorbing their toxins. The substance displaces nutritive algae that creatures up the food chain require.
Plastic affects human health. Chemicals leached by plastics are in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.
Plastics cost billions to abate. Everything suffers: tourism, recreation, business, the health of humans, animals, fish & birds – because of plastic pollution. The financial damage continuously being inflicted is inestimable.
(Source: Plastic Pollution Coalition)