Letter to Get Better- Michael Symon, Cut the Straws!

by - Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dear Bar Symon,

Our family flies through Pittsburgh a lot, and we were so excited to see you open- anything to keep us out of TGI Fridays or The Lube (I mean, come on, I love hot wings, but they are not airplane food). We have eaten at your place a couple of times for lunch and breakfast, and it's pretty good. I got this sandwich the last time, and it was delicious.

But I am not sure I would go back. I mean, I will be in the Pittsburgh Airport at least 6 more times this year, but I may be headed back to TGI Fridays.

Why? Because even when we ask, your servers always give us plastic straws.

I have a couple of problems with this.

First, those straws are already in our drink with no paper on them. So how many germy fingers effectively just swizzled my water? That is so unsanitary.

Much worse, it is completely unnecessary. Very few people actually need straws, and they are a huge threat to our oceans and our sea life. The average American makes a larger volume of waste with straws than with cars, and straws are worse because they are so small they can be hard to clean up. They also get can be ingested by sea life like turtles (have you seen the videos? they are haunting). Despite the ways we know it is ravaging our oceans, American restaurants serve 500 million straws a day.

 That includes you. In fact, it includes you even when we say no. You can read a lot more about why this matters here.

Plastic will outnumber fish in the oceans by 2050 at this rate, and restaurants like yours can play a huge role in reversing this trend.

How to do it? Simple, stop serving straws no one is asking for. PLEASE. Just stop.

Studies show that most people won't ask for a straw if they aren't given one (because we are grown ups, and can handle a regular cup), so if you make straws by request only, you can cut down most of your straw use immediately. If you want to do even better by our oceans, switch to paper straws! They are more expensive, but if you are only handing them one when someone asks, the cost might still be less.

It's a big change, I know, and just one more thing for a business to worry about. Other restaurants are starting to take this route, and it is working. You can put up signs so your customers know what is up!  Someone headed on vacation might appreciate less garbage on their trip. If you want to see all the ways you can let your fly through customers know what you are up to, check out The Last Plastic Straw.

So, please, turn it around and do something for our future. And talk to your servers, because they aren't listening. Until then, you can find me eating somewhere else, even if your sandwich is better.

Sincerely, Sunshine Guerrilla

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