Edmonton beats Calgary in plastic-reducing Last Straw Challenge

WATCH: Waste Free Edmonton has challenged bars and restaurants in Calgary and Edmonton to get rid of single-use plastic straws for a weekend. Sean Stepchuk explains in this July 10 interview.

Over the past two months, Alberta’s two biggest cities have been ramping up to see which could get the most businesses to go straw-free for at least one day.

“We challenged Calgary to see which of our cities could have more restaurants and bars go straw-free either on a trial basis on one day on July 14 or, preferably, indefinitely,” Waste Free Edmonton’s Sean Stepchuk explained.

It was announced Monday that Edmonton had won the challenge.

By the end, 86 businesses in Edmonton took part, while 62 Calgary businesses came on board.

According to Waste Free Edmonton and Plastic-Free YYC, most of the participating businesses agreed to go straw-free indefinitely.

READ MORE: Northern Alberta Boston Pizza eliminating straws

“We are extremely pleased with how many bars and restaurants agreed to take the straw-free challenge,” Melissa Gorrie of Waste Free Edmonton said.

“The positive response from local businesses demonstrates that they are willing to take action to address plastic waste. We hope this is a first step as part of a growing trend to reduce the hospitality industry’s reliance on single-use disposable items, such as plastic bags, coffee cups, and take-out containers.”

READ MORE: Starbucks to ditch plastic straws globally by 2020

The organizations involved in the challenge won’t stop working on this issue. For instance, Waste Free Edmonton is working with the city to help Edmonton’s bylaws address all single-use items.

“It’s generally a very wasteful thing,” Stepchuk told Global News in a July 10 interview. “It’s used for mere minutes or seconds, and then it lasts forever whether in our landfills… if it’s not recycled, or else in our waterways, animals end up eating them.”

READ MORE: Harvey’s, The Keg among major chains to ditch plastic straws

Stepchuk said having a large chain like Boston Pizza change its practices sends a huge message.

“In terms of the amount of waste that’s no longer created and is diverted, having 60-some Boston Pizzas — that’s going to be make a huge impact. As well, just in terms of awareness… when you have a large chain like Boston Pizza that’s doing that, it really helps it become more of the norm.”

Watch below: Some Edmonton restaurants are throwing their support behind a movement to ban plastic straws. But the idea doesn’t have national support yet. Julia Wong explains.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories