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Liberty Village restaurants are among those choosing to lead by example when it comes to encouraging Toronto to adopt a city-wide ban on plastic straws. In the last few months, the Craft Brasserie & Grille in Liberty Village has banned straws from their establishment, receiving praise from customers and supporters of the growing movement for a plastic straw ban.

The banning of plastic straws is a controversial subject to some in Toronto, though it’s not a debate only being had in our city. Malibu, Seattle, and Delhi have already successfully implemented bans or limited use of single-use plastics. The UK already appears to be moving forward with a nationwide ban on plastic straws and Vancouver may in fact become the first Canadian city to accept a similar ban. There is also some debate at the national level in Canada regarding whether banning plastic draws is an effective way to limit plastic consumption in the country.

Admittedly, straws may not seem like such a bad thing, especially considering all the different plastic products we use and consume daily. The importance of straws though are that they are single-use, non-recyclable plastic. Thousands of these little guys are thrown out every night at bars and pubs around Liberty Village and across Toronto. In Canada, every day, approximately 57 million straws are thrown out. Needless to say, a city-wide ban on plastic straws would successfully address this component to non-recyclable plastic consumption in the city.

Though there is opposition, there are also supporters to pubs like the Craft Brasserie & Grille and others who have self-implemented straw bans. As an example, more than 100 bars and restaurants came together under the ‘Last Straw Toronto’ banner this past April to implement their own straws-on request policy. The Craft Brasserie & Grille was the first to sign on to the initiative. The Last Straw Toronto group is asking for straws to be provided on request to any customers who ask for them and/or for whom they are necessary. This is a strategy to cut down on the drinks served traditionally with straws to patrons who immediately discard them. The group also appears to be exploring and publicizing possible alternatives being argued for, including paper straws and/or straws made from reusable materials such as glass or titanium.

Naturally one might think that a place like the Craft Brasserie & Grille suddenly refusing to distribute straws in their establishment to have negative consequences. To the contrary, the response continues to be overwhelming positive, with many supporting the change. As we continue to debate the merits of a city-wide ban, support is growing across Toronto among consumers and small businesses.

It’s known that plastic straws take up to 200 years to biodegrade, and they stand as one of the most found plastics in the ocean today. As more bars in Liberty Village take pledges to ban or limit plastic straw consumption, it will be interesting to see where this debate leads within the next year or two in Toronto. Please feel free to join in on the conversation online using the hashtag #StopSuckingToronto or visit the Last Straw Toronto website for more information.

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