11/25/18 Straws

With the "Make This Your Last Straw" initiative, Purdue aims to encourage students not to use straws.

The West Lafayette City Council may soon vote on a resolution for businesses to move away from plastic straws and toward greener, more sustainable alternatives.

David Sanders, a West Lafayette councilor at-large and the author of the proposed resolution, explained what needed to be done in order to make Tippecanoe County more sustainable.

“Straws are largely unnecessary when it comes to consuming beverages,” he said. “Fossil fuels are the main source of energy for the world, as well, and the primary material for the production of plastics. If we could stop the production of straws and silverware, it would benefit the whole country as a whole due to the petroleum allocated for plastic production being now able to be used to produce more energy, instead of non-degradable plastics.”

The proposal would not force businesses to remove plastic straws from their locations as a whole. Rather, it would encourage and advise businesses to use degradable alternatives.

Sanders hopes the resolution will start a conversation about sustainability, as he aims to make Tippecanoe the first county in Indiana to introduce an ordinance that regulates the distribution of straws. As of now, Sanders said the resolution will most likely take effect in about six months, and he hopes it will be included in the city’s December agenda.

Purdue, however, has already started taking steps toward becoming more sustainable. Tom Coleman, the director of retail dining at Purdue, said Purdue Dining and Catering “will be moving away from plastic straws.”

With the “Make This Your Last Straw” initiative, Purdue aims to encourage students not to use straws and to ask not to get a plastic straw with a meal in order to “save turtles who die of having plastic in their stomachs.”

The transition from plastic straws is not the first initiative that the University has put forward to move away from non-biodegradables. Several restaurants in the Purdue Memorial Union use cups and containers made of recycled materials.

“Paper straws are expected to be introduced in all Purdue retail and dining locations by February,” Coleman said.

The straws are eco-friendly and will be made of 100 percent recycled material. Coleman added that the move to transition to paper straws was not influenced by the resolution. Rather, he said it’s a trend several Big Ten universities have started to adopt.

The new straws will arrive at Purdue in mid-February to be used in all of the University’s dining locations. However, it is not yet clear whether West Lafayette or Tippecanoe County will also transition to paper straws in the near future.

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