Straws? Don’t you mean “Instruments of Environmental Destruction”?

What happened to our straws? Photo credit, Morgan Strasser staff photographer

Alison Trautmann

Straws. More than just a way to get a drink from your cup to your mouth. They’re just plain fun and when you’re in college, the simplest things can be the most fun or make your day a bit brighter.

Last semester, the straws disappeared from the Nazareth Dining Hall and they have not yet returned. Tom Notchick, the Director of Dining Services, assures students that the great straw migration is not a matter of cost, rather another effort of Marywood’s to go green.

They have considered green alternatives but they did not come individually wrapped and were covered with cardboard dust when they arrived. The straws would also melt in hot liquids because they were made from corn products.

Even if dining services does find a green alternative to the previous straws, they will have to evaluate if the energy used to make and transport the straws will be worth the green benefits.

I sit here and look at my tiny little straw thinking, “If I throw this out…will it really hurt the environment THAT much?” Apparently it will. Not just my straw, but every straw that is tossed out in the cafeteria. In one week, the number of straws thrown out takes up the approximate space of a bale of hay if they are compressed.

Yes, Chartwells still uses straws in their other eateries but they are attempting to find a green alternative to those as well.
Some people have commented that they use straws in order to not have to drink from cups that are possibly dirty. Notchick wishes to reassure students again that the cups that enter the dining hall are thoroughly sanitized. The final rinse cycle of the dishwashers reach temperatures of 200 degrees. If the rinse does not reach this temperature, then Dining Services puts out paper cups until the dishwasher is working again. In addition to thoroughly sanitizing the cups, they are placed upside down in the dining hall so people aren’t touching the rims of the cups. Also, your drink is already in the cup, a straw isn’t going to protect you from those germs.

“We’re reducing the waste, helping the environment,” says Jon Barzensky of Dining Services.

Still, I can’t help but feel as though my entertaining way of having my drinks has been taken away by the monster of the “green” campus. Sure, everyone has to save the environment…but what do my straws have to do with that?

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