November 01, 2018

Susquehanna University plans to be plastic straw-free by 2020, the second step in an effort to reduce the waste created by single-use plastic straws.

The university first eliminated plastic straws in its Evert Dining Room in spring 2018. This next step will eliminate plastic straws from the university’s other dining locations and replace them with biodegradable straws.

“Every day more than 500 million straws are thrown away in the U.S. alone,” said Derek Martin, sustainability coordinator at Susquehanna. “This is a great example of one small action we can take to make a big impact.”

The straw-free movement has gathered steam ever since a video went viral of a team of scientists removing a plastic straw from the nostril of an olive ridley sea turtle off the coast of Costa Rica. That was in 2015. Since then, California has banned plastic straws at dine-in restaurants except by request, and Starbucks announced that it will phase out plastic straws from its stores by 2020. Instead, the coffee chain will offer a cup with a raised drinking spout or eco-friendly paper straws.

Susquehanna’s initiative is being undertaken with the support of its food service provider, Aramark, which is also launching a “Sip Smarter” consumer awareness campaign. The campaign is designed to complement operational actions with messaging to alert customers about the changes and ways they can reduce personal consumption of single-use plastics.

Susquehanna’s latest environmental initiative comes on the heels of being named to The Princeton Review’s Guide to 399 Green Colleges and the Sierra Club’s 2018 list of Cool Schools