Texas Roadhouse restaurants to go strawless this week

Posted Tuesday, May. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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One 11-year-old boy from Vermont wants restaurant diners to consider their next disposable straw their last disposable straw.

Milo Cress of Burlington launched his Be Straw Free Campaign at age 9 to help reduce waste going to landfills after learning that more than 500 million disposal straws are used in America each year. After hearing Milo’s environmental pitch at a recent conference, 13 Texas Roadhouse restaurants throughout the state have decided to go strawless this week.

As part of the campaign, servers will ask guests whether they want a disposable straw with their drinks instead of automatically handing them out.

“This is not a cost-cutting effort,” said Mike Medrano, managing partner at the Texas Roadhouse in Grand Prairie. “We are trying to support this young man and his initiative. We are trying to help save the globe a little bit.”

Carol Thompson and her husband Fred eat at Texas Roadhouse in Grand Prairie regularly. Sipping ice water at the restaurant’s bar, Carol Thompson said she prefers to drink through a straw because of her sensitive teeth but said she supports the initiative to cut down on unnecessary trash.

“It’s a great idea. They should ask,” Thompson said. “The straw business isn’t going to like that at all though.”

Disposable straws may seem like a small thing but the amount used in the country each year is enough to fill up more than 46,400 school buses, according to Milo’s website.

Meghna Tare, sustainability director at the University of Texas at Arlington, said a disposable straw is used for about 20 minutes and then thrown away.

“If everyone uses one straw every day for 10 years, you end up throwing 3,650 straws in the landfill. It’s a small thing, but look at the impact it will make in 10 years,” Tare said.

With the world population already exceeding 7 billion, Tare said switching to reusable items, such as cups and straws, and recycling when possible can help prolong the lifespan of landfills.

“We are using so much of our space for landfills. They have a limited life. We need more land for food and water,” she said.

Medrano said that since hearing Milo speak last month, he no longer asks for a disposable straw for his drinks and is encouraging his family to do the same.

“I had an aha moment,” Medrano said. “Hopefully we will give a lot of people “ahas” as they find out about the initiative.”


Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock

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