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OUTSIDE IN: Windsor, Nova Scotia's Spitfire Arms British Pub switches from plastic to paper

Sarah Dunham: “Everybody has to do their part, because every little bit helps.”
Sarah Dunham: “Everybody has to do their part, because every little bit helps.” - Colin Chisholm

‘Every little bit helps’

WINDSOR, N.S. – More and more restaurants are saying goodbye to plastic straws as part of a larger international movement to eliminate single-use plastic products.

The Spitfire Arms British Pub in Windsor, N.S. made the switch a couple of months ago, and assistant manager Sarah Dunham said customers are happy to see it.

“People who come in here love it, they think it’s great that we have paper straws, they definitely notice,” Dunham said. “A few years ago, it wouldn’t have even been a thing, but the awareness of it now is huge. It’s a good thing.”

That's not the only way the business has ditched plastic. The Spitfire Arms also transitioned away from plastic takeout bags to paper a little less than a year ago.

It's not a cheap choice, but it's the right one, she said.

“It’s more expensive to have the paper straws, the plastic is a lot cheaper, but we wanted to be a part of the no plastic straw movement,” she said.

The restaurant was doing its part to cut down even before the transition — customers had to request a plastic straw before the switch.

“So now, the people who do want a straw, they can have a paper one,” she said. “We have kids that come here that need straws or people who need or just want them, and that’s fine. We just give them a paper one.”

Dunham said she’s noticed a reduction in plastic waste since making the switch.

“We don’t go through as many paper straws as we did with plastic, because we’re still not giving them out unless people ask for it,” she said.

The pub's small straws, for use in rock glasses, are still plastic, but Dunham said the bartenders encourage patrons to reuse the same straw if they’re getting multiple drinks.

The paper bags are also larger, which allows the customer to carry more items in one, rather than multiple plastic bags if they have a large take-out order.

“It’s easier for the customers, and it’s way less plastic at the end of the day,” she said.

The restaurant also gives its leftover fryer oil to BioFuel Weiss in Mount Uniacke, which ships the product to Europe.

“Everybody has to do their part, because every little bit helps,” she said.

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