U.K. restaurants get stingy with straws

Stephen Beard Feb 3, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Now to London, where restaurants and bars have declared war on the straw — as in plastic straws that come with drinks.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard joins us now live to explain. Good morning.

Stephen Beard: Good morning, Jeremy.

Hobson: So, explain this war on the straws.

Beard: Well these bars and restaurants in SoHo in London are not banning plastic straws, they’re just not handing them out automatically anymore. Customers will have to ask for them in future so that will probably reduce the number that are handed over.

Hobson: But, why is this happening?

Beard: For environmental reasons. Conservations say most of these straws, especially from fast food outlets are thrown on the sidewalk, they end up in the gutter, the drains, and eventually the sea where they damage marine wildlife where they pollute the beaches.

Hobson: Now I have to say, I’m not really a straw guy myself, but what’s the reaction been over there?

Beard: Well, so far customers seem to be reacting positively. These two Coke drinkers who were strawless yesterday were not complaining:

Customers: It’s all right. I just drink it out of the cup. Straws aren’t a big deal. I don’t mind. About the straws. Because I’m going to drink without it anyway.

But you know, I should say, Jeremy, this campaign is not going to have a major impact here in the UK. Beer and tea are still the two key beverages here and no one in their right mind would drink those with a straw.

Hobson: Don’t need a straw for those. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London, thanks Stephen.

Beard: OK, Jeremy.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.