Morgan Crossing White Spot manager Guy Dorchester says straws are now by-request only chain-wide, and he’s hoping a drive to eliminate the plastic utensils will catch on. (Tracy Holmes photo)

White Spot aiming for the last straw

Restaurant chain moves to straws-by-request policy

A gesture to all-but-eliminate drinking straws from beverages being served at White Spot restaurants may seem small when it comes to taking steps for the environment, but Guy Dorchester says potential for it to make a significant impact is huge.

Dorchester, who oversees the chain’s two South Surrey locations, as well as sites in Langley, Abbotsford and Squamish, said the effort – launched company-wide a month ago – means four million straws will not end up in the environment.

“Everybody seems to be pretty much on-board,” Dorchester told Peace Arch News of customers’ reaction. “When everybody understands why we’re doing it, it’s hard not to get behind.”

Tackling the reduction or elimination of such single-use items is a focus for Metro Vancouver, where an effort to come up with a regional single-use-item reduction strategy is underway, with a particular focus on Styrofoam, plastic bags and disposable cups.

Wednesday, the City of Vancouver voted to ban plastic straws – and some other single-use disposables – effective June 2019.

Dorchester said straws will continue to be provided at White Spot on request. As well, they have not not – yet – been removed from the establishment’s thicker drinks such as milkshakes, nor from the drinks that are part of the popular children’s Pirate Pak.

Paper straws as an alternative are being sourced, he added.

Dorchester said removing straws wasn’t the chain’s first environmentally conscious step – all seafood served at the restaurant, with the exception of calamari, is oceanwise, and all of the restaurant’s take-out packaging is now compostable.

He described making the move away from plastic – or any other step to do better for the environment, whether in business or at home – as “not that difficult.”

“It’s changing habits,” he said. “In 10 years, we won’t think anything of it.”

Going strawless isn’t a challenge Dorchester has officially made to other establishments operating on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, but he is hopeful White Spot’s efforts will inspire.

“We would hope by taking this step, others will follow suit.”

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