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Manhattan Beach Restaurants To Offer 'Strawless Saturdays'

Mar 31, 2018 10:15AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
What's a simple way to reduce the amount of plastic in your life? Skip the straw! On Saturdays throughout the month of April, many Manhattan Beach restaurants will be honoring Earth Month by foregoing plastic drinking straws, except upon request.

The campaign is a collaborative effort among the City of Manhattan Beach, the Grades of Green Youth Corps, the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business and Professionals Association, and participating Manhattan Beach restaurants.

At Zislis Group restaurants, which includes Shade Hotel, Rock'n Fish, The Strand House and Brewco, the company is all in, according to Jenna Ritter, director of marketing for the Zislis Group.

"We take [our environmental commitment] very seriously and we are excited to commit to Strawless Saturdays," said Ritter. "We know every little bit helps."

Bill Matthews, vice president of operations for Zislis, added that the company's goal was to stop serving straws except by request only. He said that they were looking into several paper or starch alternatives, and that the company was evaluating the feasibility of metal drinking straws.

Over at The Kettle, the restaurant had already voluntarily discontinued the use of plastic straws in January, although straws are available upon request. Scott Simms, owner of The Kettle, noted that while the paper/cardboard/recyclable straws are more expensive to use, it was easier to budget for those products now that straw usage at the restaurant was down by 50 to 60 percent.

"We're always ahead the legal California ‘curve’ because it’s simply the right thing to do," said Simms, who noted that The Kettle also stopped the use of polystyrene cups/takeout boxes and plastic bags before it was required. "We use a lot of everything, serving upwards of 10,000 people a week in the summer, and our ‘green’ programs are therefore amplified."

Drinking straws have recently become a target for environmental activists, given that the straws are so widely in use - and so easy to skip.

Americans use roughly 500 million plastic straws daily - enough to wind around the planet 2.5 times. The average person will use more than 38,000 straws between the ages of five and 65.

Most plastic straws end up in landfills, and many end up polluting the environment. One special concern at the beach is that marine animals may mistake brightly colored straws or straw pieces for food, ingest pieces of them, and die.

Alternatives to plastic drinking straws may include reusable straws made from metal, bamboo, or glass, or compostable/biodegradable straws made from paper, grains, or plant-based materials.

Manhattan Beach, which has long been a leader in Earth Day celebrations and observations, this year decided to declare April "Earth Month" with accompanying activities throughout the month. In addition to the Strawless Saturdays campaign, there will be classes, a beach cleanup, a rain barrel giveaway, and more.

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