Plastic straws and bags are on their way out at the University of Guelph. The university’s hospitality services department has announced that it will no longer offer the single-use plastic products at most of its restaurants and shops. The change affects 17 of 22 food service locations but won’t apply to five licensed franchises operating on campus, including Tim Hortons and Booster Juice.
According to Ed Townsley, executive director of hospitality services, the change should divert about 175,000 straws and 155,000 bags from landfills. Food services and retail locations will continue to offer compostable plastic cutlery, compostable plastic straws (by customer request) and paper bags. The campus will also continue to sell pre-packaged drinks in plastic bottles due to contractual obligations to Coca-Cola.
The ban at U of G comes as social media campaigns to ditch takeaway plastic products gain momentum – the most successful being #StrawsSuck by the Surfrider Foundation, which turned a video of a turtle with a straw embedded in its nostril into international news. Though similar bans against plastic straws and bags have yet to take effect at other institutions in Canada, at least 14 universities have stopped selling bottled water.