The traditional plastic straw was invented in 1888; 130 years of advancement coupled with socioeconomic patterns has the world, including people in the Drumheller area, rethinking the need for a change.
Some businesses within the valley are either ditching or changing the material used when it comes to the plastic straw. But why? Drum FM visited two businesses in the valley that are actively taking steps to decrease their plastic footprint on the environment.
"I'd sooner just abolish all straws," said Last Chance Saloon Manager, Paula Sutherland. "(We are) keeping some on site for children because children do need them as well as some individuals who may have some sort of impairment."
Sutherland is a believer that reducing the business' environmental footprint will help protect wildlife. She comments that although the community of Wayne is small, she still wants to be responsible for what waste is being produced and reduce plastic use whereever possible.
Another business in town shares the same views.
"My concern is for the animals because these (plastic straws) do get ingested," explained Chef Peter McDiarmid from Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Cub. "The paper straws do break down and even if they (the animals) were to eat them, they would eventually pass them."
McDiarmid explained that a recyclers group came into the club to eat dinner and gave a very positive response to the fact that he and the club made the change toward an environmentally friendly product. He admitted buying paper straws compared to plastic is a bit more in price but when the yearly report is reviewed, it works out to be around $50.
"Do you really need, in your drinks, to always have a straw?" he questioned. "Maybe, we can use a lot less of them. Any way we can cut down, we will." McDiarmid also shared that they made the switch from plastic coffee stirring sticks to a more sturdy wooden stick, another way he believes will positively benefit our wildlife and environment.
Alternatives to traditional straws also include metal straws or even a new online trend of using straws made from pasta. Either way, it would seem Drumheller and the surrounding area is trying to take steps toward creating a sense of environmental responsibility.
Jason Blanke and Tony Stone are going to test the functionality and rate of degradation with papers straws given to us by Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club. We will have a video and blog post to accompany the testing as we see what types of liquids degrade these straws and at what rate.