Local restaurants, businesses begin banning plastic straws

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Major companies like IKEA, Sea World and cruise lines have been working to cut down on plastic by ditching plastic straws. Local businesses and restaurants are now cutting back too, all in an effort to help the environment.

“Straws were kind of a hot button and something we thought our customers would be ready to say goodbye to,” said Patachou, Inc. Director of Sustainability Rachael Lekic.

Patachou, Inc. has 14 different restaurants throughout central Indiana. They’re banning plastic straws at all of them.

“So far, it’s been relatively easy. We’ve had a few customers wish that they could have a straw, but I feel like people are really getting used to it,” Lekic said.

If you go to Victory Field to catch an Indians game, you won’t see plastic straws or even plastic lids there, either. The baseball park’s carry trays are made from 100 percent reclaimed fiber.

The goal in these efforts is to reduce plastic pollution. Scientists estimate about 7.5 million plastic straws are laying on America’s shorelines.

For customers, they don’t seem to mind the new changes.

“When I get one, I use one, but when I don’t get one, I don’t ask for one, so I think moving in that direction most people probably won’t care,” said Public Greens customer Marla Branyan.

At Public Greens and other Patachou, Inc. restaurants, they’re planning to go even further than just straws and are looking into using paper to-go bags, but it doesn’t always mean cash savings in the long run.

“It’s kind of a contentious issue, because we are a restaurant and we do have to maintain profitability and we do a lot of to-go business,” Lekic said.

At Patachou, Inc. restaurants, they still offer straws for drinks like smoothies, or if you have a disability. You just have to ask for one.

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