Tauranga businesses are ditching plastic straws to help save the environment as part of what is becoming a global movement.
The Rising Tide did away with plastic straws earlier in 2017 and got rid of the thousands of single-use plastic sauce containers it was going through each week.
Since then, the Papamoa Tavern has also ditched the straws and both bars are now teaming up to begin a local campaign to promote the downfall of the single-use straw.
The Rising Tide general manager Lisa Rooney said the restaurant had been plastic straw free for up to eight months.
Initially customers would get a plastic straw only if they asked for one but the business had now swapped those for paper straws if requested instead.
"Our staff are pretty keyed up and once you tell someone the reason why you're doing it people are always positive about it," Rooney said.
The Rising Tide's sister business, Johney's Dumplings House, which operates inside its Newton St premises, had followed and ditched its plastic sauce containers for ceramic ones.
Rooney said ditching the straws was part of a global movement. "I feel it is about time," she said. "We are surrounded by the ocean and everyone is really protective about it."
Papamoa Tavern general manager Kerry Bollen said the restaurant had stopped serving straws to customers, but went completely straw free from Saturday.
To coincide with the move, The Rising Tide and the Papamoa Tavern hosted beach clean-ups at Papamoa and Mount Maunganui on Saturday to launch their campaign to promote the downfall of the single-use plastic straw.
Bollen said straws had become an unnecessary addition to restaurants.
"We are showing other businesses they can do it too."
She said by taking away the straws it gave staff a chance to explain why and most people were receptive to the idea. "They get it," she said. "You really don't need a straw, a good bartender will mix your drink for you."
The Papamoa Tavern had replaced plastic single-use straws with metal straws for its smoothies and milkshakes.
Fish Face owner Fiona Brando said she had noticed other local businesses doing away with plastic straws and wanted to join the movement.
"It is important for us to do what we can for our sea life."
Brando said the business ditched the straws about three weeks ago and said customers had been receptive to the idea.
"If people do come up and ask for a straw we explain why we don't have them and they understand," she said. "It has been pretty easy."
Brando said the restaurant would have been giving out a couple hundred straws a day to customers and decided to do away with them.
"It is about time people become aware of the impacts humans have on the environment," Brando said.
"I don't think people realise that it will still be here 100 years after they have."
Brando said sister-business Pronto would soon follow suit.
Conor Sullivan, a manager at Mount Brewing Co, said the bar had been avoiding plastic straws since he started working there in September last year.
"We just wanted to do it to help protect the environment," Sullivan said.
He said the bar staff always tried to do their bit to care for the environment, including recycling, and they offered customers the option to reuse their glasses.
Sullivan said most people were receptive to the no-straws policy, but staff did supply straws if customers really wanted one.
Tauranga business development expert Max Mason said going plastic straw-free was evidence of a deeper culture in Tauranga.
"So many people live here for the natural environment and they get really offended by anything that impacts negatively on it," Mason said.
The Tauranga City councillor said proactive businesses such as the ones doing away with straws were proactive in being the change they wanted to see in the world.
"It is really cool to live in a city where there is such a strong emphasis on the environment," he said.
However, the trustee for EnviroHub said Tauranga had two sides to it.
"There are still a lot of people who don't like to recycle their home rubbish ... there are still the lag ons. You're going to have to bring them kicking and screaming to the party."
Mason said people needed to lead by example if there was going to be a change.
"If everybody recycled, reused and reduced, the world would be a better place and so would Tauranga," he said.
Who is ditching the straws?
- The Rising Tide
- Papamoa Tavern
- Mount Brewing Co
- Fish Face