Bar and pub company Redcomb Pubs has become the latest to stop offering single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers in all of its sites.
From this month, its 14 bars and pubs are making only biodegradable alternatives available to customers who specifically ask for or need a straw.
The expanding group, owned by Dan Shotton and Mark Draper, includes sites in London such as Lockhouse (pictured) in Paddington Basin, the Theodore Bullfrog at Charing Cross and the Old Shades in Whitehall and others around the south-east.
Redcomb Pubs’ decision to stop purchasing plastic straws follows similar moves by Be At One bars, Experimental Group, The New World Trading Company’s The Botanist, All Bar One, JD Wetherspoon and Oakman Inns.
Plastic straws and stirrers are made from polypropylene or polystyrene – petroleum products designed to last forever. Both are particularly harmful to marine life and add to the eight million tonnes of plastic waste that currently leaks into our oceans each year, killing birds and other marine animals. Studies estimate that unless there is a significant shift in the amount of plastic that we throw away, plastic refuse in our oceans is set to outweigh fish by 2050.
Dan said: “Our pubs use thousands of straws and plastic stirrers each year, and by removing them from our business we will be positively contributing to the worldwide efforts to help reduce plastic waste and its negative impact on our coastlines, marine life and oceans.
“All too often straws and stirrers are added to drinks without customers even asking for them. This simple act has devastating implications for up to 200 years – the time it takes for plastic straws and stirrers to biodegrade – a far cry from the relatively short time it takes for you to finish your drink.
“Whilst we will be purchasing biodegradable alternatives for our customers that genuinely need a straw, our actions and those taken by other bars and restaurants will hopefully go a long way to help raise awareness and encourage more customers and businesses to get behind the ‘no straws’ campaign.”
Bar and pub management company All Our Bars has also pledged to end the use of plastic straws, cocktail stirrers and single-use plastic cutlery and glasses across it sites. They will be phased out over the next few weeks, either by removing the product completely, by replacing them with a biodegradable substitute, or by sourcing alternative products that can re-used.
Paul Wigham, CEO of All Our Bars, said: “The whole matter of sustainability has become hot and anyone watching some of the TV coverage of the impact on the environment cannot fail to have been moved. This initiative forms part of our ongoing commitment to reducing our impact on the environment – we know that making even small changes can make a dramatic difference.
“We will also be asking brand owners and suppliers to identify where they are using single-use plastics in their supply with a view to switching products where necessary. Food supply packaging may be the biggest challenge but unless we try to make change, nothing can happen.”