Last Straw Campaign targets plastic straws; single-use plastics ban initiative in the works

Revelstoke businesses are getting on board with phasing out plastic bags, and an initiative is in motion for a single-use plastics ban.

A local initiative is seeking to phase out single-use plastics, such as plastic straws, in Revelstoke. Photo: Pixabay

A number of Revelstoke businesses are jumping on board with one woman’s efforts to eliminate the use of plastic straws.

Tegan Dean got the idea to start the Revelstoke Last Straw campaign while eating at the Taco Club one night. She noticed a group of men sitting at a table having drinks. Each time they ordered a drink it came with a new plastic straw. Dean began to do research online and found out other towns in Canada had created a ‘last straw’ campaign.
Dean printed up posters to advertise the Revelstoke Last Straw campaign. She approached the Taco Club owners, who agreed to support the campaign. The Last Straw is now using paper straws and is only giving them out to people who request them. Dose Coffee has also eliminated the use of plastic straws and is now using bamboo straws and has re-usable bamboo cutlery people can purchase. Dean said the Modern Bakeshop & Cafe had already eliminated the use of plastic straws and Mountain Meals has glass straws available for purchase. The Regent Inn is planning to order biodegradable straws.

“A lot of them are getting on board,” said Dean.

Kate Borucz, executive director of the North Columbia Environmental Society, said the group is supportive of Dean’s efforts to eliminate the use of single-use plastic straws. Borucz said often people do not get to choose whether or not they want a straw.
“A good example is a bartender [automatically] putting a plastic straw in drinks,” she said.

Borucz said the NCES is working to raise awareness around single use plastics. The group is planning to approach businesses to take single use plastics out of their business plan. This would include eliminating the use of plastic straws as well as other single-use plastics, including shopping bags. Borucz said single-use plastic products are often a matter of convenience. She said most plastic products can be replaced with reusable, recyclable or biodegradable options.

The NCES is planning to help businesses do a cost analysis to see the difference in pricing if they switch to more environmentally friendly products.

The environmental society plans to approach Revelstoke city council to begin a discussion on eliminating single-use plastics completely. Borucz said, if their campaign is successful, it will likely take more than a year to phase out single-use plastics in the community.

This article first appeared in the February print issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.