Number of drinking straws reduced– 14,000 and climbing

The Explore Lake Simcoe #nostrawchallenge is an open challenge to food service establishments operating in the Lake Simcoe watershed. In an effort to reduce unnecessary use of drinking straws, and to reduce plastic drinking straw litter and landfill waste, participating restaurants adopted a policy to only give out drinking straws upon request. Although results are now in for this 6 1/2 week challenge, the effort is still alive and well. Nine participating establishments will continue offering straws only when customers request them. Other businesses interested in adopting the policy are welcome.

About the challenge

Participating establishments received communication templates  to inform customers about the challenge and were asked to track weekly straw use and report back on the number of straws reduced at the end of February.  Participants are also asked to switch to compostable or paper straws once current supplies run out.

The #nostrawchallenge ran for 6.5 weeks between Jan 13 and the end of February 2017. A total of ten businesses located in the Lake Simcoe watershed participated in the challenge (for anywhere from a 3 week period up to the full 6.5 weeks).

The number of straws saved by each establishment was affected by the business size and the type of beverages offered. Participating businesses are located in Barrie and Orillia and include:  Ripe Juicery, Il Buco Ristorante, Barnstormer Brewing and Distilling Co., The Farmhouse Restaurant, The Grilled Cheese Social Eatery, The Market Buffet BBQ and Smokehouse, Donaleigh’s Irish Public House, The Lazy Tulip Café, The Lake Country Grill and  Creative Cafe Barrie.
Based upon final numbers provided by participating businesses, over 14,000 straws were saved during that short 6.5 week period. Although many customers supported the premise behind the challenge, some continue to ask for straws. Yet, 9 of the participating businesses have committed to continue with a “straws provided only on demand” policy or to eliminate straws altogether.
Change starts one step at a time, and the particpating business’ have done a great job of raising awareness about the issue of plastic drinking straw litter and waste.  Explore Lake Simcoe wants to thank the participants and encourages other businesses interested in reducing plastic drinking straw waste to contact for more information.
Join the challenge and implement a “straws provided only on demand” policy at your establishment and help us divert even more plastic waste!


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