Updated: Jun 30
Many bars and restaurants in Vancouver have embraced the use of reusable borosilicate straws for several years. However, some may question whether it's worth the hassle for establishments to purchase, wash, and reuse these straws, especially when paper straws are readily available and easy to discard.
In this article, we aim to summarize feedback from restaurants and evaluate the benefits, drawbacks, and return
on investment associated with using reusable straws.
Purpose of Reusable Straws
The primary purpose of reusable straws is to reduce waste by promoting their repeated use. By reusing a single straw over 1000 times, we can make a significant difference in waste reduction. Restaurants and bars, where tables are frequently flipped and bartenders serve hundreds of drinks nightly, are the ideal places for implementing reusable straws and maximizing waste reduction.
Some individuals have expressed concerns about reusing straws that have been used by others in the restaurant. However, it's worth considering that restaurants already reuse cutlery and glassware used by guests for eating and drinking. Reusable straws are no different, especially when they can be properly sanitized, and their transparency allows customers to check their cleanliness from the inside.
Moreover, the fear of potential injuries due to the use of borosilicate glass straws is largely unfounded. Borosilicate glass is known for its low coefficient of thermal expansion, making it highly resistant to drastic temperature changes (-30 °C to 150 °C) and more durable compared to regular glass. These properties reduce the likelihood of breakage or chipping. Over a span of two years, we meticulously tested borosilicate straws in one of Vancouver's top cocktail bars, and the result was clear: no cuts, no accidents, zero waste, and many happy customers.
Return on Investment
Naturally, business owners are concerned about the return on their investment. A single borosilicate straw can be reused more than 1000 times and is easily recyclable. With the ban on plastic straws in Canada, most hospitality establishments have turned to paper straws, which get soggy in few minutes can be costly. The average wholesale price of 500 paper straws is $32, while 100 reusable borosilicate straws cost $95. By reusing just 100 borosilicate straws at least 500 times, a restaurant could save $3200.
Cleaning and Sanitization
Cleaning reusable straws requires minimal effort and can be completed in approximately five minutes by a bartender. We recommend three simple cleaning steps:
1. Collect the straws during service and place them in a container or deli with water and antibacterial dish soap. This kills 75% of bacteria and viruses.
2. Rinse the straws with water, using a dishwasher spray for a quick cleanse.
3. Wash the straws in a high-temperature dishwasher for 100% sanitization. The reusable borosilicate straws are designed to fit into the common cutlery baskets used in restaurants.
After these three easy steps, the straws are ready to be reused. Small and medium-sized restaurants typically wash the straws twice a day.
As hospitality professionals, we hope to convince all restaurant guests that using reusable borosilicate straws is a safe and hygienic option for enjoying their favorite cocktails. For restaurant owners, making the switch to reusable straws can significantly reduce waste, operational expenses, and contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly establishment. By investing in reusable straws, restaurants can demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship while also saving money in the long run.