• Plastic Straw Usage Survey Results

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    September 22, 2020
    Plastic waste poses an ecological threat to the environment, is injurious to wildlife and overburdens landfills. In an effort to assess potential mitigation strategies, the Montgomery County Food Council worked with representatives of the Montgomery County Sierra Club and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce to develop a brief survey that was shared with restaurant owners and managers throughout the County.
    The survey was shared with stakeholders on Thursday, September 3rd, 2020, and was closed for responses on Friday, September 11th, 2020. In that time, 15 responses were collected, which is not a large sample size of all restaurants in the County.
    Results included the following:
     - 12 of the respondents currently provide plastic straws only to customers.
     - 1 respondent provide plastic straws only, but offers the option of no straws.
     - 1 respondent provides no straws
     - 1 respondent provides
    biodegradable straws
    Asked to to indicate the anticipated impact that a potential plastic straw ban would have on their business, with 1 being “no impact” and 10 being “significant impact”:
     - 11 respondents indicated a 6 or higher on this scale
     - 2 respondents indicated a neutral "5" response
     - 2 respondents indicated a 3 or lower on this scale

    Additional commentary provided by survey respondents includes anticipated sourcing challenges due to supply chain issues caused by COVID-19, potentially higher costs to supply alternative straws, and needing straws for specific menu items. One restaurant also inquired about the privacy concerns related to providing straws to customers with disabilities. 

    Finally the survey asked if respondents would be interested in participating in a campaign to phase out single-use plastic straws in the local food service industry, 3 responded “Yes,” 4 responded “Maybe,” 7 responded “no,” and 1 requested more information. 

    Catherine Nardi, Programs Manager, Montgomery County Food Council
    cnardi@mocofoodcouncil.org, 301-664-4010