SLO businesses using plant-based, glass and silicone straws

Posted at 2:48 PM, Sep 06, 2018

It’s out with the plastic and in with the biodegradable paper, silicon and even glass straws.

Six months ago, the City of San Luis Obispo passed the “Beverage Straws Upon Request” ordinance limiting single-use plastic straws and businesses are trying to find better alternatives.

If you want a straw in the city, you’ll have to ask for one.

Under the ordinance, restaurants, cafés and bars will only provide plastic straws upon request with an exception for takeout orders.

Los Osos resident Barbara Bellinger says she is embracing the change, sipping her iced tea from a paper straw.

"Part of it is the attitude we bring. You know, are we going to grouse about it or are we going to say ‘okay, let’s just get on board,’” Bellinger said.

Nautical Bean now serves its drinks with paper straws.

Wendy Jefferies, general manager of Nautical Bean in San Luis Obispo, says they also sell stainless steel straws after customers complained about the paper ones.

"They say they disintegrate in their drink, they don’t like it, they don’t like the way it feels on their lips. They either really hate it or really love it,” Jefferies said.

Julia Gomez, owner of Julia’s Juices, provides her customers with plant-based, paper, silicon and glass straws, but the switch costs her 30 to 40 percent more. 

"It’s expensive to do the biodegradable, but I think it’s worth it,” Gomez said. “I mean, the environment as well, I just wish that people would be more aware."

Another ordinance prohibits vendors from selling single-use plastic bottles at events such as the Downtown Farmers’ Market. 

"It’s a tiny thing, but I think when you add up the millions that are used every day, it’s important to be looking at that,” Bellinger added. “It’s change, so let’s change in the right direction when we can."

Both plastic-limiting ordinances went into effect in San Luis Obispo on March 1, 2018.