La Place Rendez-Vous opts to ‘Go Strawless’

Duane Hicks

In conjunction with Earth Day (April 22), La Place Rendez-Vous here will kick off its “Go Strawless” initiative in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
Rendez-Vous staff no longer will serve drinks with straws in them unless customers ask for them, general manager Sarah Noonan told the Times.
“We won’t eliminate straws completely,” she explained. “But we won’t serve [them] in our drinks anymore.
“We still have them available if someone needs or wants one, which we’ll provide for them, of course,” she added.
“We don’t want to upset our customers.
“But at the same time, we want to challenge them a little and get them to question, ‘Do I really need a straw in my drink?'” said Noonan.
“How often do we use a straw at home? I never do.”
Noonan noted many customers might do a quick stir with their straw, then take it out of the drink and put it on the table. For those people, the Rendez-Vous has you covered.
“On the stir side, what we’re going to move to is a bamboo stir stick. It will break down at least [unlike plastic], and you don’t have to stick your finger in your drink to stir it,” she said with a smile.
Noonan has challenged herself over the past year not to use a straw while having water or something else to drink at the Rendez-Vous.
“It was easy,” she remarked. “You drink from the side of a glass all of the time at home.”
Running a more ecologically-friendly business is important to Noonan.
“There can be so much waste in our industry and a little switch like this, I think, can make a big difference,” she reasoned.
“[Using a straw] is unnecessary and is a small move that we can make that instantly reduces that waste,” Noonan added. “And it’s so easy for us–just don’t put it in the drink and it’s still there if people want it.
“But I bet you we’ll cut back 80-90 percent of straw use just making that step,” she speculated.
Noonan also is issuing a challenge to other local restaurants to follow their example and “Go Strawless.”
“I know it’s little tougher for the fast food venues because people are taking that ‘to go’ and that’s a little bit different,” she conceded.
“But anywhere that you sit down at a restaurant and enjoy a meal, I challenge all of those restaurants to take this step.
“It’s such an easy thing to do and if it’s more than one place doing it, it creates a change in how things are done,” Noonan added.
“At first people might think, ‘Whoa, this is weird.’ But like anything else, you get used to it quickly.
“It becomes the new norm, right?”
Noonan said she was inspired by the story of a nine-year-old American boy, Milo Cress, who started the organization “Be Straw Free” a number of years ago to reduce use of plastic straws to save resources and landfill space.
More recently, she attended the Restaurants Canada food show in late February, where she learned from a vendor about how restaurants could undertake their own “eco-challenges.”
Naturally, the idea of going “strawless” jumped out at her.
“I took a pledge that day,” she recalled. “So this is me being to true to that pledge.
“We shared it on Facebook and got tons of ‘likes’ and feedback on the idea,” she added. “I think that it’s important to people and we’ll get a lot of support.”
And “Go Strawless” only is going to be a starting point in terms of waste-reduction strategies at the Rendez-Vous.
“I am excited to do this and hope it garners some support,” Noonan said. “It has already.
“I’d love to look at expanding on this and seeing what else we can do to reduce our footprint,” she added.
“I welcome ideas from people, too.”
She noted making a change is about taking a step back and realizing that although things may always have been done a certain way, they don’t necessarily have to be done that way.
“Maybe there’s a smarter, better way that’s more eco-friendly? We are definitely open to ideas,” she reiterated.