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April 15, 2011

Initiative: Getting Restaurants to Stop Giving Out Plastic Straws Automatically

 

Want a free reusable straw and the knowledge that you’re making a difference?  Read on…

The Problem

Wouldn’t it be nice if restaurant servers asked if you wanted a straw before sticking one in your drink automatically? Right now, it’s up to us to refuse those straws ahead of time.  And sometimes, we have to ask more than once for our request to be remembered and fulfilled.

Glass Dharma glass drinking strawThat’s one of the reasons I carry a Glass Dharma glass drinking straw with me wherever I go.  Whipping out my straw is a memorable way to get the server’s attention and sometimes to start a conversation about the environmental impact of plastic.  I also have sensitive teeth, so drinking cold beverages through a straw is just easier.  Some of you have mentioned that you don’t need any straw at all.  So let’s tell restaurants to quit giving them to us!

Take Action. Get a Free Reusable Straw.

To inspire us to take action, Glass Dharma offers to give away a glass drinking straw to anyone who writes and mails a letter to a restaurant asking them to change their straw policy.  In fact, GD will give you up to 5 straws for writing to up to 5 different restaurants.  This offer is good through April 30, 2011.  And it’s not a drawing.  Everyone who writes a letter gets a Simple Elegance glass straw.  Or as GD’s Cheryl Newcomb put it, “Glass Dharma is motivated to make a difference and we are willing to put free glass straws where your lips are!”

Don’t need a reusable straw? Maybe you have a friend who does.

Here are the rules:

1) Choose your restaurant(s) to write to.  Any restaurant. Preferably one(s) you frequent and that you have noticed gives out unwrapped straws automatically.

2) Write a snail mail letter.  Email doesn’t count.  Glass Dharma feels that paper letters get more attention, so you’ll have to look up the company’s address. I’ve included my own letter to a restaurant at the bottom of this post. Feel free to use it as a model, but do try to use your own words in case more than one person writes to the same restaurant.

3) Copy your letter into a comment on this blog, including the address of the restaurant so others can write to the same establishment if they choose.  (Delete your personal contact information before posting your comment here where everyone can see it.)

4) Copy your letter into an email to earthday@glassdharma.com and DO include both the restaurant’s and your contact information so GD can send you your straw and follow up with the restaurant.  Contact information for entrants and restaurants must include, name, mailing address and email address.

Several other bloggers are participating in this initiative, but you are only eligible to receive 5 straws in total. It’s like putting money in your IRA(s). It doesn’t matter how many accounts you have, the limit is $5,000 for the year. (Okay, I’m an accountant and this is tax crunch time in the U.S.)

Participants from USA and Canada only will be eligible for this contest. But for those of you in other countries: please don’t let that stop you from writing letters and posting them in the comments here too.

It Gets Better!

There IS a drawing after all.  Glass Dharma will also award one Grand Prize Winner a $100.00 gift certificate coupon code. Entries must be received through 4/30/2011. The Grand prize drawing will be held on 5/4/2011.

But wait! There’s more!

You also get a Ginsu Knife.

(Okay, that’s a joke. You don’t get a Ginsu Knife, but wouldn’t that be funny?)

My Letter to Pasta Pomodoro

Okay, here is the letter I am mailing today:

Beth Terry
Address
Address
Email

April 15, 2011

Pasta Pomodoro
1550 Bryant Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
E-mail: pasta@pastap.com

Dear Pasta Pomodoro:

As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years.

In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy.

1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag.

2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com).

3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea.

Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the free meals on my birthday and good food the rest of the year.

Sincerely,

Beth Terry

Update: After publishing this post, I was contacted by the team of BeStrawFree.org letting me know about 9-year old Milo’s project to reduce single-use plastic straw waste. Please sign on to and pledge to live plastic straw-free.



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Comments

A Note about leaving comments: I switched to the LifeFyre comment system because it weeds out the hundreds of spam comments I was getting each day and also allows us to respond to individual comments, to "Like" comments, and to link them to social media if we so desire. But if you do not wish to login via social media, you don't have to. You can comment without logging in! Here's how:

  1. Type your comment in the box.
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  6. Please email me if you have questions or problems. This new system is supposed to make it easier for all of us to converse, not harder.
125 comments
Sarah
Sarah

I am so excited! Thank you so much! I'm starting a food cart and I told David that I would love to become a reseller for him. I can't wait to start bringing this great product to PTown. It's exactly the kind of thing I think would go over great here.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Sarah, no worries. David said he'd send your straws today or tomorrow.

Sarah
Sarah

I am so heartbroken right now. I was just wondering if something had happened to my straws in the mail so I searched for earthday@glassdharma.com in my email account and discovered that my very lengthy email to them had been saved as a draft instead of sent. I sent a plea to ask if they could please honor the promotion still or just send me one straw even. Beth, if you have any pull could you root for me? I have been telling people all over Portland for weeks about these straws arriving and I've already started sewing utensil pouches to carry the straws, silverware, and napkins wherever I go. I know I can just buck up and buy them if I need to but I searched a year around Portland for these to try and save on shipping (no job besides blogging atm).

Annika Kaye
Annika Kaye

Anyway, point being that people have finally come around to reusable drinking bottles and shopping bags, I think reusables will be taking over more and more.

Annika Kaye
Annika Kaye

5-10 years ago, the people in my grocery store looked at me like I was nutts whenever I said the magic words "I don't need a bag". After a while it turned into a more neutral response but I always felt like I was expected to pack the groceries myself, almost like the cashier is thinking "Well fine then, if you don't want our bags then do it yourself." Did you ever get that vibe or was it all in my head? These days it's just so common to have green bags and sometimes the cashier will take the bag from me and pack my stuff up without discussion.

stellans
stellans

He didn't seem that excited to me: "Thank you for your email, however, the Earth Day letters to restaurants promotion has expired (4/30/2011) and all of the letters received by then are being processed. We will be shipping the straws promised between now and Wednesday, May 4th. Should you need to communicate with us, please send an email to: info@glassdharma.com. Thank you, David Leonhardt GlassDharma" I mean, I sent my letters out on 4/19 and was only forwarding a copy of the reply I received, as you requested.

stellans
stellans

I got an answer from O'Charley's: --------- Dear Ms. Sloop, Thank you for your recent letter regarding plastic straws. I appreciate your suggestions and will investigate their viability for our company. I had no idea that paper straws existed! Thanks for the tip. Your letter spurred me to think of other ways O’Charley’s could be more friendly to the environment and I will research some of those possibilities also. Thank you for being a guest of O’Charley’s! Mickey Mills VP of Operations O'Charley's Inc. P: 615-782-8841 C: 615-767-1621 mickey.mills@ocharleys.com

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Stallans, that's great. Will you forward it to Glass Dharma too? David will be excited. He's collecting these response letters too. This campaign is having some amazing results.

Mirza Molberg
Mirza Molberg

Mirza Molberg xxxxxxx April 30, 2011 Back To The Land 142 7th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11215 (718) 768-5654 Dear Back To The Land Thank you for providing wonderful organic and natural groceries to the Park Slope and Brooklyn community. It is always a pleasure to stop by when I am in the area, or to travel to your store for specialty items. In honor of Earth Day/Earth Life, I am asking that you look at an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic straws used in your juice bar. 1) First, please train your servers to ASK customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Most of us don’t use straws at home anyway. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. Another small thing would be not automatically putting plastic forks/eating utensils and plastic sauce packets in take out and delivery orders. Most people go straight home and don’t need plastic forks. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws like they’ve done at some other local restaurants for the safety of the animals. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com).
 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. A company called Glass Dharma has described a Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I think you will find your customers celebrating your new eco-friendlier changes, should you implement these suggestions. I believe that more earth-friendly practices would be an extra draw for people in the neighborhood. I would much rather patronize a restaurant that is environmentally conscious than one that is not. Please respond and let me know which steps you are planning to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for all the great food I’ve enjoyed there. Sincerely, Mirza Molberg

Mirza Molberg
Mirza Molberg

Mirza Molberg x April 30, 2011 Grill's Delight & Juice Bar 587 5th Ave 
 Brooklyn, NY 11215 (347) 529-5445 Dear Grill’s Delight: The convenience of your location for tasty all fruit smoothies and juices is excellent. Thank you for providing healthy options in an area where they are otherwise unavailable. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ASK customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Most of us don’t use straws at home anyway. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. Another small thing would be not automatically putting plastic forks/eating utensils and plastic sauce packets in take out and delivery orders. Most people go straight home and don’t need plastic forks. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws like they’ve done at some other local restaurants for the safety of the animals. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com).
 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. A company called Glass Dharma has described a Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I think you will find your customers celebrating your new eco-friendlier changes, should you implement these suggestions. I believe that more earth-friendly practices would be an extra draw for people in the neighborhood. I would much rather patronize a restaurant that is environmentally conscious than one that is not. Please respond and let me know which steps you are planning to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for all the great food I’ve enjoyed there. Sincerely, Mirza Molberg

Colleen
Colleen

Colleen Rogers PRIVATE April 15, 2011 Applebees 8800 Main Street Birch Run, MI 48415 989.624.4307 E-mail: unknown Dear Applebees: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you good food. Sincerely, Colleen Rogers

robbiekay
robbiekay

Note: I twice tried calling the phone number that I found on various websites for Fat Tuesdays and it just went to what sounded like a fax machine after about 10 rings. Therefore, I was not able to reach anyone to ask for an email contact for their restaurant/bar. Fat Tuesdays 809 Washington St Vancouver WA 98661 Ph.: 360-735-7199 Email: Unknown April 29, 2011 Attn: Fat Tuesdays Management We are excited to have discovered your establishment. It is difficult in this area to find cornbread that does not have too much sugar in it, but yours passes the test. Your service is also excellent and that leads me to my reason for writing today. At my initial visit to your establishment I forgot to request no straw with my soft drink. When my drink was brought out with a plastic straw I thought, "Oh well. I'll have to remember next time." However, your wait staff is so attentive that when my drink started to run low, I was surprised with another beverage–and another plastic straw. For the sake of the environment, would you please consider making straws a "by request only" item? You could train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Everyone will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need or want this disposable plastic item in the first place. Not only would this help our planet by reducing the number of natural resources needed to produce and distribute plastic straws, the less straws you give out, the less money you have to spend buying straws! Furthermore, plastic straws are used for such a short period of time, but stay in the landfill forever–if we are fortunate enough for plastic waste to make it to the landfill rather then a beach, the ocean or the stomachs of unsuspecting wildlife. I would also encourage you to look into using alternatives to plastic straws. One solution is paper straws. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable (I do hope you are composting your food waste!) and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). Another option is to participate in Glass Dharma's glass straw upgrade program (please visit http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html for details). Thank you for taking the time to read this and to consider my request. I look forward to seeing changes in an upcoming visit to your establishment! Sincerely, Robbie NXXXX-JXXXX CC: http://myplasticfreelife.com earthday@glassdharma.com

Amanda
Amanda

Here is the letter I mailed out today! April 28, 2011 North China Buffet 300 Bell Boulevard Belleville, ON K8P 5H7 (613)771-9988 Dear Management: I have been enjoying the deliscious variety of foods and freindly atmosphere at your restraunt for a few years now and have alway had a good experience. As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also your friendliness towards children. There is only one thing that troubles me, and that’s the disposable straws that you serve us with our coconut water. We try not to use disposable plastic because it’s wasteful. I most often forget to ask our server ahead of time not to bring us plastic straws and our drinks arrive with straws, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1)First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2)Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. Greenshift sells all sorts of earth friendy restaurant supplies here: http://www.greenshift.ca/greenshift_products.html 3)And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. Here is a company that sells glass straws. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the great food and friendly atmosphere. Sincerely, Amanda

Dana
Dana

name address contact April 25, 2011 La Casita 465 East Fry Boulevard, Sierra Vista - (520) 458-2376 Dear La Casita: I recently went to your restaurant and loved the food. Your dishes are spot on and I'm sure I'll be back frequently! Thanks for making our girl's day out a little more delicious! There is only one thing that troubles me, and that’s the disposable straws that you serve us with our drinks. I try not to use disposable plastic because it’s so wasteful. While our drinks did not arrive with straws IN them, the waitress simply placed wrapped straws at each glass, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) Simply, please ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t plan on using straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores asking whether customers want a bag. This will also save you money....wasted plastic is money out of your pocket! 2) Another great option is considering a switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. Greenshift sells all sorts of earth friendy restaurant supplies here: http://www.greenshift.ca/greenshift_products.html 3)You might also consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. Here is a company that sells glass straws. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. It is dishwasher safe, made of sturdy glass (think Pyrex), made in the U.S.A., and comes with a lifetime guarantee. I highly recommend at least trying one for personal use. I appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the quality dishes and friendly atmosphere. Sincerely, Dana

Eve Stavros
Eve Stavros

Thank YOU Beth and thank you Glass Dharma! I mailed my letters off last Friday and today I received my glass straws and wonderful letter from G.D.! That was fast!!!!! I plan to continue to communicate with local businesses and carry on the campaign.

Emily Harper
Emily Harper

Buffalo Wild Wings 3575 West Stetson Avenue Hemet, CA 92545-9740 (951) 925-6111 To Whom it May Concern: 4/26/11 This is just a friendly letter asking you to do a very simple, yet very important thing! In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. We are all trying to be Earth conscious, and Im sure your establishment wouldn’t mind joining the ranks… all you have to do is please retrain your staff to ask customers if they would like a straw, rather than automatically just putting one in their glass before it is served. This saves on plastic use, and in the long run saves you money! Please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html) Thank you so much for taking a moment out of your day to read this, your efforts are appreciated! Respectfully Submitted, Emily Harper

Emily Harper
Emily Harper

Millie’s Restaurant 2020 East Florida Avenue Hemet, CA 92544-4727 (951) 658-9068 To Whom it May Concern: 4/26/11 This is just a friendly letter asking you to do a very simple, yet very important thing! In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. We are all trying to be Earth conscious, and Im sure your establishment wouldn’t mind joining the ranks… all you have to do is please retrain your staff to ask customers if they would like a straw, rather than automatically just putting one in their glass before it is served. This saves on plastic use, and in the long run saves you money! Please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html) Thank you so much for taking a moment out of your day to read this, your efforts are appreciated! Respectfully Submitted, Emily Harper

Emily Harper
Emily Harper

Chili's Restaraunt 2100 W Florida Av Hemet, CA 92545-3642 (951) 652-2777 To Whom it May Concern: 4/26/11 This is just a friendly letter asking you to do a very simple, yet very important thing! In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. We are all trying to be Earth conscious, and Im sure your establishment wouldn’t mind joining the ranks… all you have to do is please retrain your staff to ask customers if they would like a straw, rather than automatically just putting one in their glass before it is served. This saves on plastic use, and in the long run saves you money! Please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html) Thank you so much for taking a moment out of your day to read this, your efforts are appreciated! Respectfully Submitted, Emily Harper 4480 Thornbush Dr emflo@hotmail.com Hemet, CA. 92545 760.799.0601

Emily Harper
Emily Harper

Duke’s Steakhouse 360 North San Jacinto Street Hemet, CA 92543-3110 (951) 260-0335 To Whom it May Concern: 4/26/11 This is just a friendly letter asking you to do a very simple, yet very important thing! In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. We are all trying to be Earth conscious, and Im sure your establishment wouldn’t mind joining the ranks… all you have to do is please retrain your staff to ask customers if they would like a straw, rather than automatically just putting one in their glass before it is served. This saves on plastic use, and in the long run saves you money! Please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html) Thank you so much for taking a moment out of your day to read this, your efforts are appreciated! Respectfully Submitted, Emily Harper

Gena Alltizer
Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer April 27, 2011 Millie's Restaurant Bakery 2020 E. Florida Ave Hemet, CA 92544-4727 951-658-9068 428@millies.com Dear Millie's: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the good food and service that you provide. Sincerely, Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer
Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer April 27, 2011 Mimi's Cafe 1778 W. Florida Ave Hemet, CA 92543 951-929-2201 mimis_121@mimiscafe.com Dear Chili's: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the good food and service that you provide. Sincerely, Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer
Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer April 27, 2011 Chili's Bar & Grill 2100 W. Florida Ave Hemet, CA 92545 951-652-2777 C01093@chilis.com Dear Chili's: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the good food and service that you provide. Sincerely, Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer
Gena Alltizer

oops forgot to change the address on the last one. Steer N Stein is at 3104 West Florida Ave, Hemet, CA 92545

Gena Alltizer
Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer April 27, 2011 Steer N Stein 2200 W Florida Ave # 410 Hemet, CA 92545-3670 951-658-6838 (would not give me email, says manager does not use it) Dear Steer N Stein: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the good food and service that you provide. Sincerely, Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer
Gena Alltizer

Gena Alltizer April 27, 2011 Samurai Sushi 2200 W Florida Ave # 410 Hemet, CA 92545-3670 ichipark@gmail.com Dear Samurai Sushi: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the good food and service that you provide. Sincerely, Gena Alltizer

Anne
Anne

Very unoriginal, but hopefully they will listen. Anne Lawrie 27 April 2011 Tara Thai 245 E. Bell Road - Suite 9 Phoenix, AZ 85024 To Whom It May Concern: As a long-time customer of your restaurant I not only appreciate the delicious food and welcoming service, I also appreciate your use of real dishes, flatware, and glasses. There is one thing I am bothered by, however. This is the fact that plastic straws automatically arrive in each glass. In honor of Earth Day I am writing to ask you to change your straw policy. They are such a waste, and plastic is so very toxic to our environment. Please ask your servers to inquire if customers want a straw before adding it to the glass. Perhaps you could, further, switch to paper straws for any customers who wish to have a straw for their drink. Paper straws won't end up floating around in our world forever like plastic straws. If you are interested, one company that offers such paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). Thank you for listening to my concern. I hope that you'll consider the future health of our planet when making your business decisions. Sincerely, Anne P.S. I am in no way affiliated with Aardvark. It is simply one company I'm aware of. Hope to see you soon!

David William
David William

Sushi Deli 135 Broadway, San Diego, CA (619) 233-3072 Dear Sushi Deli: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compost-able and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and the organic meals and good food you provide. Sincerely, David William

Meg
Meg

One of my favorite restaurants under my yoga studio..... Meg Neil 2635 Logan Ave. San Diego, CA 92113 meg.neil@gmail.com April 28, 2011 Naked Cafe 3555 Rosecrans St # 109 San Diego, CA 92110-3232 (619) 226-7866 Dear Naked Cafe: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and the organic meals and good food you provide. Sincerely, Meg Neil

Sarah Johnson
Sarah Johnson

Great promotion! I LOVE my glass dharma straws and give them as gifts every year. I'm converting all my friends, one birthday at a time! I went for a mixture of local and national chain restaurants. Here are my letters: April 27, 2011 Kerby Lane Café Marketing/Catering/Food Development 2111 Dickson Dr. Ste A
 Austin, TX. 78704
 512-448-3330 Dear Kerby Lane Café, As a satisfied customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at Kerby Lane, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. Recently, while dining at the Central location I forgot to ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, she stuck a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. I don’t need or want one. Usually, I remember to bring my own straw, and if I don’t then I just go sans straw for my meal. I realize my experience may be an isolated incident and not systemic of your entire restaurant policy, but I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. Please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t need straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. I greatly admire your company’s commitment to using locally grown food. I would love it if you went the extra mile to switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, generating more waste and potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). Finally, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been using a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the about a year now so I don’t have to waste plastic. I absolutely love my glass straw. It is dishwasher safe, made of sturdy glass (think Pyrex), made in the U.S.A., and comes with a lifetime guarantee. I highly recommend at least trying one for personal use. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), offering customers a discount for bringing their own straw or the option of purchasing one with their meal, which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the delicious food (I want to make love to your hummus), excellent service, and community involvement. Sincerely, Sarah A. Johnson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ April 27, 2011 Sammy Citrano George’s Restaurant 925 Speight Ave. Waco, TX 76706
 254-753-1421 Dear Mr. Citrano, As a long time satisfied customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at George’s, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. Recently, while dining at the Speight location I forgot to ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, she stuck a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. I don’t need or want one. Usually, I remember to bring my own straw, and if I don’t then I just go sans straw for my meal. I realize my experience may be an isolated incident and not systemic of your entire restaurant policy, but I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. Please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t need straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. In addition, I would love it if you went the extra mile to switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, generating more waste and potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). Finally, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been using a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the about a year now so I don’t have to waste plastic. I absolutely love my glass straw. It is dishwasher safe, made of sturdy glass (think Pyrex), made in the U.S.A., and comes with a lifetime guarantee. I give them as gifts, and even my best friend’s four-year-old son loves to use his glass straw. I highly recommend at least trying one for personal use. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), offering customers a discount for bringing their own straw or the option of purchasing one with their meal, which I think is a great idea. I also urge you to examine any plastic waste generated in your “To Go” orders, switch to compostable alternatives, and ask customers if they need a plastic cutlery rather than automatically providing it. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the delicious food (I love Kyle’s Chicken Tenders!) and excellent service. Sincerely, Sarah A. Johnson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ April 27, 2011 FreeBirds World Burrito Headquarters 6475 Christie Ave, Suite 300 Emeryville, CA 94608 Dear FreeBirds, As a long time satisfied customer, I love your food. I’ve been a loyal customer since my freshman year in college at Texas A&M, back when there were only two sizes of burritos and there were no “salads.” I appreciate that when I order a burrito to go, it will be wrapped in aluminum foil in a paper bag…a plastic free lunch — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. Usually, I remember to bring my own straw, and if I don’t then I just go sans straw for my meal. I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. I would love it if you made the to switch to paper straws. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, generating more waste and potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). Please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been using a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the about a year now so I don’t have to waste plastic. I absolutely love my glass straw. It is dishwasher safe, made of sturdy glass (think Pyrex), made in the U.S.A., and comes with a lifetime guarantee. I give them as gifts, and even my best friend’s four-year-old son loves to use his glass straw. I highly recommend at least trying one for personal use. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), offering customers a discount for bringing their own straw or the option of purchasing one with their meal, which I think is a great idea. I also urge you to switch to compostable forks and knives. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the delicious food, excellent service, and community involvement. Sincerely, Sarah A. Johnson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ April 27, 2011 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
 PO Box 787
 Lebanon, TN 37088-0787
 (800) 333-9566 Dear Cracker Barrel, As a satisfied customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at Cracker Barrel, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. Recently, while dining at the Harker Heights location I forgot to ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, she stuck a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. I don’t need or want one. Usually, I remember to bring my own straw, and if I don’t then I just go sans straw for my meal. I realize my experience may be an isolated incident and not systemic of your entire restaurant policy, but I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. Please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t need straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. In addition, I would love it if you went the extra mile to switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, generating more waste and potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). Finally, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been using a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the about a year now so I don’t have to waste plastic. I absolutely love my glass straw. It is dishwasher safe, made of sturdy glass (think Pyrex), made in the U.S.A., and comes with a lifetime guarantee. I highly recommend at least trying one for personal use. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), offering customers a discount for bringing their own straw or the option of purchasing one with their meal, which I think is a great idea. I also urge you to examine any plastic waste generated in your “To Go” orders, switch to compostable alternatives, and ask customers if they need a plastic cutlery rather than automatically providing it. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the delicious food (I love your fried apples!) and excellent service. Sincerely, Sarah A. Johnson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ April 27, 2011 Noodles & Company Central Support Office 520 Zang Street Suite D Broomfield, CO 80021 720-214-1900 Dear Noodles & Company, I lived in Fairfax, Virginia for three years, literally across the street from a Noodles & Company. I fell in love with your food. I recently moved to Texas, where I am anxiously awaiting the opening of your Austin locations. As a satisfied customer, I not only appreciate the quality of your food and vegetarian alternatives, but also the fact that it is served on durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at Noodles & Company, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. Usually, I remember to bring my own straw, and if I don’t then I just go sans straw for my meal. I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. I would love it if you went the extra mile to switch to paper straws, eliminating disposable plastic altogether from the dine-in meal. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, generating more waste and potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). I also ask that you please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been using a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the about a year now so I don’t have to waste plastic. I absolutely love my glass straw. It is dishwasher safe, made of sturdy glass (think Pyrex), made in the U.S.A., and comes with a lifetime guarantee. I highly recommend at least trying one for personal use. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), offering customers a discount for bringing their own straw or the option of purchasing one with their meal, which I think is a great idea. I also urge you to examine any plastic waste generated in your “To Go” orders by asking customers if they need a plastic cutlery rather than automatically providing it, switching to compostable alternatives, or offering discounts to customers who provide their own to-go containers. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the delicious food (I love your Pesto Cavatappi) and excellent service. Sincerely, Sarah A. Johnson

Puck
Puck

Here's mine: April 27, 2011 Akasaka Japanese Restaurant 457 Paterson Avenue Wallington, NJ, 07057 201-507-8383 Dear Akasaka, I have eaten a few times at your restaurant and I am always thrilled by the elegance and deliciousness of your food. I also appreciate the lovely reusable cups and dishes that you serve your food on. However, the meals I eat at your restaurant are not completely waste-free. The chopsticks you provide me for eating my meal are the disposable wooden ones that I can use once and then throw away. Also, when I order a drink that is not hot tea (water, soda, etc.), I am always given a plastic straw to use whether I ask for one or not. The straw you stick in my drink and then throw away will become plastic waste that lasts for thousands of years. Today, in honour of Earth Day, I am asking you to change your policy on plastic straws. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I personally do not use straws, but I know of a company called Glass Dharma who sell reusable glass straws. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I would also greatly appreciate it if you began providing reusable wooden chopsticks to your customers, instead of the disposable wooden ones. They do add to the dishwashing time, but it is better than contributing to deforestation and waste. Furthermore, reusable chopsticks can be bought in a single purchase, whereas you have to continuously purchase disposable chopsticks only to have customers use them and then throw them away. Please respond to me and let me know what steps you will take. I enjoy going to your restaurant anytime I am in East Rutherford, which happens fairly frequently, and I would prefer for my money to go to a restaurant with the environment’s best interests at heart. All the very best, Polina Malamud

Brianna
Brianna

Brianna Lopez address address email April 26, 2011 Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
6312 S. Fiddlers Green Cir., #200N
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: 303-846-6000 Dear Red Robin, I have always loved your restaurant and quite often choose you when I’m celebrating a birthday or just having date night with my boyfriend. Every time I go I always get the Freckled Lemonade which comes in a beautiful glass with a plastic straw in it. I have never been asked by a waiter/waitress if I want a straw, it’s always just automatically there. It’s not something I thought there were other options for in the past, but I’ve recently become aware that there are options you have to eliminate making my favorite drink create garbage. The first and simplest option would be to instruct your waitstaff to ask if a customer wants a straw, not everyone does. That would not only eliminate garbage but also save your company money. Additionally, customers wouldn’t have to pull a wet straw out of their drink as the first thing they do when they sit down. If the customer does want a straw, like I would, it would be great if there was compostable or paper straws available to use instead of the plastic which doesn’t have the ability to become anything else and isn’t strong enough to use for more than one day. The absolute best option I think you guys have would be to partner with a company (like Glass Dharma) and offer glass straws to customers. I for one would be thrilled if I could pay a little extra and get a pretty red swirly glass straw which would match the pretty red glass I’m drinking my lemonade from. I know I would be willing to pay more for this and take them with me when I left. It’d be great advertising for your company when your customers used them elsewhere. Thanks for your time, Brianna Lopez

Five Seed
Five Seed

Hi Beth, I hope my letter is okay. Now that I'm looking at what others wrote, I see that everyone basically used the exact same format - and I didn't. But I think I covered all the points! :) Thanks for this opportunity, to you and Glass Dharma!

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Yancy, your letter is perfect. I only included my letter as an example to make it easier for people, but I don't expect everyone to write the same thing!

Five Seed
Five Seed

Yancy Contact info deleted for privacy April 26, 2011 Green Plow Coffee 436 SW 6th St. Redmond, OR 97756 pat@greenplowcoffee.com Dear Green Plow staff: First, I would like to say how much I enjoy your coffee shop. I am a part of the knitting group that meets there on Monday evenings, and I really love visiting your establishment. Your drinks are delicious and your staff is extremely warm and friendly. I especially love that your shop allows customers to use real dishware instead of disposable cups and that it encourages “to-go” customers to bring their own mugs. This is a really important issue for me and I’m so pleased to see that it is important to you, as well. On that note, I am writing to encourage you to take things one step further: to consider changing your straw policy. I would love to see you offer paper straws (not ideal, as they are disposable, but at least they are compostable, unlike plastic straws), and perhaps even start selling glass straws in your shop that customers can purchase and carry with them. Paper straws are available through Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com/) and glass straws through Glass Dharma (http://glassdharma.com/). Finally, I would love to see the staff ask customers if they want a disposable straw, or to see a sign on the counter reminding customers that they can opt to go “straw-less.” I love to order your Italian sodas, which come in eco-friendly, reusable glass cups, but I often forget to tell the server that I don’t need a straw. I think if other people were reminded that this is an option, many of us would choose to decline the disposable straws. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for considering these ideas. I truly appreciate businesses like yours that support the environment and the community in such a positive manner. Your establishment gives so much back to Redmond, and it is much appreciated! Sincerely, Yancy

Adam
Adam

I avoid plastic packaging. Some of the foods I regularly buy include cereal, granola, rice, nuts, beans, and quick oats. I've also purchased couscous, steal cut outs, rolled oats, Bulgar wheat, barley, and nutritional yeast. Thank you so much for sharing this information with the world...nice to know there are many others out there doing what they can to use little or no plastic in an effort to be kinder to our beloved planet.

Simran Sethi
Simran Sethi

Last two. . . April 25, 2011 23rd Street Brewery 3512 Clinton Parkway Lawrence, KS 66047 E-mail: matt@brew23.com Dear 23rd Street Brewery: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your excellent burgers and terrific beer, but also the fact that the meal is served on beautiful, durable dishes with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a low-impact, waste-free meal — except for the disposable plastic straws. In honor of Earth month, I’m writing to request a change to your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I was recently introduced to very cool glass straws from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I would really appreciate you letting me know which steps you are willing to take. My KU Journalism class was just in Oakland learning about plastic pollution in the ocean. We realize there is so much plastic in our lives. This change would be really meaningful to the environment and to the community. Rock Chalk! Simran Sethi ** April 25, 2011 Tortas Jaliscos 534 Frontier Rd Lawrence, KS 66049 No website or e-mail. http://www2.ljworld.com/marketplace/businesses/tortas_jalisco/ Dear Tortas Jaliscos, I not only appreciate your delicious food but also the fact that the meal is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a tasty, low-impact meal — except for the disposable plastic straws. In honor of Earth month, I am writing to request a change to your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I was recently introduced to very cool glass straws from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I would really appreciate you letting me know which steps you are willing to take. My KU Journalism class was just in Oakland learning about plastic pollution in the ocean. We realize there is so much plastic in our lives. This change would be really meaningful to the environment and to the community. Thanks for considering this request, Simran

Simran Sethi
Simran Sethi

Three letters. Two more to come. April 25, 2011 Dempseys Burger Pub 623 Vermont Street Lawrence, KS 66044 Dear Dempseys: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your excellent burgers, terrific beer and commitment to supporting local farmers by sourcing local food but also the fact that the meal is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a low-impact, waste-free meal — except for the disposable plastic straws. In honor of Earth month, I am writing to request that you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I was recently introduced to very cool glass straws from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I would really appreciate you letting me know which steps you are willing to take. My KU Journalism class was just in Oakland learning about plastic pollution in the ocean. We realize there is so much plastic in our lives. This change would be really meaningful to the environment and to the community. My best, Simran Sethi * * April 25, 2011 Chuck Magrel & Rick Martin Free State Brewing Company 636 Massachusetts Street Lawrence, KS 66044 Dear Chuck and Rick: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your stellar beer and delicious food, but also your commitment to supporting local farmers and the community at large. You know I have sung your establishment’s praises on Oprah and beyond and done my best to support your efforts. Now I have a request. Your beer and food are served on durable dishes with real flatware and you are committed to composting where you can. Yet, there’s one more opportunity to get rid of waste: in your disposable plastic straws. In honor of Earth month and as part of a larger straw campaign, I’m requesting that you reconsider your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I was recently introduced to very cool glass straws from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I would really appreciate you letting me know which steps you are willing to take. My Journalism class was just in Oakland learning about plastic pollution in the ocean. We realize there is so much plastic in our lives. This change would be really meaningful to the environment and to the community. Thanks for considering this request, Simran * * April 25, 2011 Subarna Bhattachan Zen Zero 811 Massachusetts Street Lawrence, KS 66044 Dear Subarna: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your delicious food but also the fact that the meal is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a tasty, low-impact meal — except for the disposable plastic straws. In honor of Earth month, I am writing to request that you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I was recently introduced to very cool glass straws from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I would really appreciate you letting me know which steps you are willing to take. My KU Journalism class was just in Oakland learning about plastic pollution in the ocean. We realize there is so much plastic in our lives. This change would be really meaningful to the environment and to the community. Thanks for considering my request, Simran

Khaleelah Jones
Khaleelah Jones

Khaleelah Jones April 25, 2011 The Hornet Attn: Sean Workman, GM 76 Broadway Denver, CO 80203 Phone: 303-777-7676 Dear Mr. Workman: As a long-time customer at the Hornet, I not only love your food, but the Hornet’s continuing commitment to helping the environment. I would like to suggest another initiative for the Hornet to look into: getting rid of disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one, but unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I thank for your attention to this matter—and for running such a great place to eat! Sincerely, Khaleelah E. Jones ALSO SENDING TO: Ogden Street South 103 South Ogden Street Denver, CO 80209-2319 The Spot Denver 98 South Pennsylvania Street Denver, CO 80209

Alicia
Alicia

JP Licks 659 Centre Street Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 Dear JP Licks: As long-time customers, my family not only appreciates your ice cream and food but also the fact that you are wonderful community members. As spring (and iced coffee/tea season) approaches, we have been thinking more about what we can do to reduce waste. We have recently noticed a movement away from disposable plastic straws, and we thought we would ask if you could help discourage their use. I don’t need or want one. But I notice that without a visible suggestion or alternative, many people take a plastic straw without even thinking about it. In honor of Earth Day, we are writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, we would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And second, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their drink/ice cream and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. We admire a woman who has been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that she doesn’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. We are planning to get some Dharma straws for ourselves for Easter. Sincerely, Alicia

Nikki Krempasky
Nikki Krempasky

(all five posted together) Nicole Krempasky x April 23, 2011 Red Hot 349 7th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11215 (718) 369-2577 Dear Red Hot: I not only appreciate your excellent all-vegan food selections, but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I am trying to eliminate single-use, disposable plastic from my life and our environment. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will end up in our landfill, on our beautiful local beaches or worse, in sea birds, fish and animals.
 While it may seem insignificant, take a second to think about how many drinks you serve in a day, multiply that by how many days you are open a year, and then multiply that by how many restaurants are doing the same thing. You can see how even this very small piece of plastic can become a big problem. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy 1) First, please train your servers to ASK customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Most of us don’t use straws at home anyway. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. Another small thing would be not automatically putting plastic forks/eating utensils and plastic sauce packets in take out and delivery orders. Most people go straight home and don’t need plastic forks. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws like they’ve done at some other local restaurants for the safety of the animals. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com).
 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. A company called Glass Dharma has described a Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea.
 I think you will find your customers celebrating your new eco-friendlier changes, should you implement these suggestions. There are quite a few tasty vegan restaurants in NYC, Brooklyn, and even the Prospect Heights/Park Slope neighborhoods. I know that greener practices would influence my choice to patronize Red Hot more frequently over other restaurants, and I believe other earth conscious vegans and vegetarians would do the same. Please respond and let me know which steps you are planning to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for all the great food I’ve enjoyed there. Sincerely, Nicole Krempasky +++ Nicole Krempasky x April 23, 2011 Dao Palate 329 Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217 (718) 638-1995 Dear Dao Palate: I not only appreciate your excellent all-vegan food selections, but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I am trying to eliminate single-use, disposable plastic from my life and our environment. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my Thai Iced Tea (or whatever drink) automatically, generating plastic waste that will end up in our landfill, on our beautiful local beaches or worse, in sea birds, fish and animals. While it may seem insignificant, take a second to think about how many drinks you serve in a day, multiply that by how many days you are open a year, and then multiply that by how many restaurants are doing the same thing. You can see how even this very small piece of plastic can become a big problem. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy 1) First, please train your servers to ASK customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Most of us don’t use straws at home anyway. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. Another small thing would be not automatically putting plastic forks/eating utensils and plastic sauce packets in take out and delivery orders. Most people go straight home and don’t need plastic forks. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws like they’ve done at some other local restaurants for the safety of the animals. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com).
 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. A company called Glass Dharma has described a Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea.
 I think you will find your customers celebrating your new eco-friendlier changes, should you implement these suggestions. There are quite a few tasty vegan restaurants in NYC, Brooklyn, and even the Prospect Heights/Park Slope neighborhoods. I know that greener practices would influence my choice to patronize Dao Palate more frequently over other restaurants, and I believe other earth conscious vegans and vegetarians would do the same. Please respond and let me know which steps you are planning to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for all the great food I’ve enjoyed there. Sincerely, Nicole Krempasky +++ Nicole Krempasky x April 23, 2011 V-Spot 156 5th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217 Info@thevspotcafe.com (718) 622-2275 Dear V-Spot: I not only appreciate your excellent all-vegan food selections, but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I am trying to eliminate single-use, disposable plastic from my life and our environment. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will end up in our landfill, on our beautiful local beaches or worse, in sea birds, fish and animals.
 While it may seem insignificant, take a second to think about how many drinks you serve in a day, multiply that by how many days you are open a year, and then multiply that by how many restaurants are doing the same thing. You can see how even this very small piece of plastic can become a big problem. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy 1) First, please train your servers to ASK customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Most of us don’t use straws at home anyway. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws like they’ve done at some other local restaurants for the safety of the animals. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com).
 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. A company called Glass Dharma has described a Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea.
 I think you will find your customers celebrating your new eco-friendlier changes, should you implement these suggestions. There are quite a few tasty vegan restaurants in NYC, Brooklyn, and even the Prospect Heights/Park Slope neighborhoods. I know that greener practices would influence my choice to patronize V-Spot more frequently over other restaurants, and I believe other earth conscious vegans and vegetarians would do the same. Please respond and let me know which steps you are planning to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for all the great food I’ve enjoyed there. Sincerely, Nicole Krempasky +++ Nicole Krempasky x April 23, 2011 Vegetarian Palate 258 Flatbush Ave Brooklyn 11217 (718) 623-8808 Dear Vegetarian Palate: I not only appreciate your excellent all-vegan food selections, but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I am trying to eliminate single-use, disposable plastic from my life and our environment. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will end up in our landfill, on our beautiful local beaches or worse, in sea birds, fish and animals.
 While it may seem insignificant, take a second to think about how many drinks you serve in a day, multiply that by how many days you are open a year, and then multiply that by how many restaurants are doing the same thing. You can see how even this very small piece of plastic can become a big problem. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy 1) First, please train your servers to ASK customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Most of us don’t use straws at home anyway. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. Another small thing would be not automatically putting plastic forks/eating utensils and plastic sauce packets in take out and delivery orders. Most people go straight home and don’t need plastic forks. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws like they’ve done at some other local restaurants for the safety of the animals. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com).
 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. A company called Glass Dharma has described a Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea.
 I think you will find your customers celebrating your new eco-friendlier changes, should you implement these suggestions. There are quite a few tasty vegan restaurants in NYC, Brooklyn, and even the Prospect Heights/Park Slope neighborhoods. I know that greener practices would influence my choice to patronize Vegetarian Palate more frequently over other restaurants, and I believe other earth conscious vegans and vegetarians would do the same. Please respond and let me know which steps you are planning to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for all the great food I’ve enjoyed there. Sincerely, Nicole Krempasky +++ Nicole Krempasky x April 23, 2011 Scoops 624 Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11225 (718) 282-5904 Dear Scoops: I appreciate your excellent all-vegan Ital food selections, and I frequent Scoops to get your vegan combo plates, wings, and ice cream. The one thing that deters myself and my friends from getting food at Scoops more frequently is the impact that our meals have on the environment, eating out of all pretty much disposable and non-biodegrable/non-compostable packaging. I am trying to eliminate single-use, disposable plastic and styrofoam from my life and our environment. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me a straw, they stick one in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will end up in our landfill, on our beautiful local beaches or worse, in sea birds, fish and animals. And while I know I can bring my own take out container for the food, I am not always coming from home and most people don’t think about doing this. While it may seem insignificant, take a second to think about how many drinks and plates of food you serve in a day, multiply that by how many days you are open a year, and then multiply that by how many restaurants are doing the same thing. You can see how this plastic and styrofoam can become a big problem. 1) First, please train your servers to ASK customers if they want a straw for our juice and shakes instead of automatically giving them one. Most of us don’t use straws at home anyway. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws like they’ve done at some other local restaurants for the safety of the animals. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com).
 It was also be great if you switched to compostable and biodegradable take out containers. 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. A company called Glass Dharma has described a Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea.
 I think you will find your customers celebrating your new eco-friendlier changes, should you implement these suggestions. There are quite a few tasty vegan restaurants in NYC, Brooklyn, and even Prospect Park/Flatbush neighborhoods. I know that greener practices would influence my choice to patronize Scoops more frequently over other restaurants, and I believe other earth conscious vegans and vegetarians would do the same. Please respond and let me know which steps you are planning to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for all the great food I’ve enjoyed there. Sincerely, Nicole Krempasky

Suannette Moux Fiol
Suannette Moux Fiol

P.Terry's Burger Stand Barton Springs and S. Lamar 404 S. Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas 78704 pterry@pterrys.com Sandy's Hamburger 603 Barton Springs Rd Austin, TX 78704 no email (512) 478-6322 Wahoo's Taco 1722 South Congress Austin, Texas 78704 gdellc@wahoos.biz Chick Fil A 500 E Ben White Blvd Austin, TX 78704 no email Taco Cabana 9705 Manchaca Rd Austin, TX 78748 no email 512 280-5626 To Whom It May Concern, In honor of Earth Day I really enjoy taking my kids to eat out at your restaurant.The staff is always happy and cheerful making it very kid friendly. I thank you for your late hours that feeds my fast food addict husband. This Earth Day I am praying that restaurants change to biodegradable containers instead of styrofoam. Also, I would like to take the time to ask you to reconsider your straw policy. Sometimes we think what is the harm in one straw, well that it is not only one straw its not how many drinks do you serve. First, I would like to suggest to you to switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). Price is always an issue right? Well then consider training your staff to ask if people would like a straw with their drink, you may be surprised how many may say no thank you. I thank you for your time and consideration. I would like to hear from you as to what changes you are willing to make. Sincerely, Someone concerned for the Earh

Melissa
Melissa

Dear Infusion Tea, I am writing to you on this Earth Day to let you know about two cool options you could use to replace plastic straws. Besides the good food, atmosphere and great teas, I have always appreciated your efforts to "go green" (containers, local food). Instead of plastic straws, you could offer customers paper straws: http:://www.aardvarkstraws.com. Or offer an "upgrade" and sell a sturdy reusable glass straw with the drink. They glass straws are so sturdy they have a lifetime guarantee (my friend's baby uses one!) and they're easy to clean. Straws are so bad for the animals Sea World tries to keep them out. Let me know what you think! Longtime customer & tea lover, Melissa Brown email p.s. Oh yeah! the glass straw website! glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/.whats-on-menu.html or glass dharma.com

Nikkai
Nikkai

Here is letter number one: Revelations Café 112 North Main Street Fairfield, IA 52556 revelations@lisco.com Dear Revelations Café, As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your fantastic food but also the fact that it is served on nice, durable dishes, with real flatware and cups. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. Automatically sticking a straw in my smoothies, etc, generates plastic waste that will last for thousands of years, and for that reason I am trying to go plastic-free as much as possible. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will have the chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have heard of great glass straws from a company called Glass Dharma. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I really appreciate your restaurant! Thank you for the great local Maharishi Vedic Organic items and the awesome wood-fired pizza and fabulous atmosphere. Revelations is my favorite place to eat out at on the Fairfield Square. Sincerely, N

Lydia
Lydia

Here are my letters! April 22, 2011 Country’s BBQ 2016 12th Ave Columbus, GA 31901 Dear Country’s BBQ: I love your food! I have been coming to your restaurant for as long as I can remember, especially the one on Mercury Drive. I love everything on the menu, particularly the ribs. I always get great service and enjoy my meal. There is only one thing that has ever kept my experience at Country’s from being great. It’s the fact that you give out plastic straws with every single drink. I don’t need or want one. Every time I have visited a location, the server automatically assumes that I want a straw. This has never nor will it ever be the case. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the free meals on my birthday and good food the rest of the year. Sincerely, LH April 22, 2011 Red Robin 6312 S. Fiddlers Green Cir., #200N Greenwood Village, CO 80111 Dear Red Robin: I love your food! The burgers are great and the fries are even better. I also love that you make two different vegetarian patties available for your customers. It’s wonderful that you are trying to accommodate people making different food choices. You are so accommodating to the wants of your customers, but there is one area you are lacking in your customer service and it’s the fact that you assume people will want to use a plastic straw. I don’t need or want one. Every time I have visited a location, the server automatically assumes that I want a straw. This has never nor will it ever be the case. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the free meals on my birthday and good food the rest of the year. Sincerely, LH

Alyssa
Alyssa

Here's my letter! Sunset Grill & Tap 130 Brighton Ave Allston, MA 02134 Dear Sunset Grill, Ever since I discovered your amazing selection of beer and delicious vegan burrito, I have been a very happy costumer at your restaurant, as well as at Sunset Cantina. As an environmentally conscious eater, I’m glad that your food is served on real dishes and that you have real flatware, something that can be sometimes hard to find in the fast-food packed streets of Allston-Brighton. Eating a waste-free meal is important to me, which is why I’m writing about your use of disposable, neon-colored plastic straws. In general I don’t like drinking through straws, and while they may look pretty and colorful for the duration of my trip to the restaurant, they will be thrown away and lead to plastic waste that will not biodegrade, leaving behind a legacy for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. (I know for myself and my father, we generally take out our straws so we can chug our water faster, I’m sure we’re not the only ones!) Other customers will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. This is similar to grocery stores asking if customers want bags, which has helped reduce an awful lot of plastic bag waste! 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. For the straw-inclined consumers, a company called Glass Dharma offers glass straws that are unbreakable and infinitely reusable. Now that’s a legacy I can live with! On their web site, they describe a Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html). Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I definitely appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the delicious burrito, amazing selection of beer, and the all-important taco lunch bar. Sincerely, AJP

Noel Phillips
Noel Phillips

Noel Phillips cello_pandora@yahoo.com April 20, 2011 Denny’s 5025 Central Avenue NE Columbia Heights, MN 55421 Dear Denny’s: As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on beautiful, durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at your place, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one, they stick a straw in my drink automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have been carrying a glass straw from a company called Glass Dharma for the past few years so that I don’t have to waste plastic. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. Please respond and let me know which steps you are willing to take. I do appreciate your restaurant and thank you for the free meals on my birthday and good food the rest of the year. Sincerely, Noel M Phillips Letters also sent to 1 - LaCasita 5058 Central Ave NE Minneapolis MN 55421 2-Red Robin 1090 Gramse Road Shoreview MN 55126 3- Annie's Parlour 313 14th Avenue SE Minneapolis MN 55414 4-Sally's Saloon& Eatary 712 Washington Ave SE Minneapolis MN 55414

Melissa
Melissa

Melissa Brown somewhere Whole Foods Headquarters re. Green initiative 550 Bowie St. Austin, TX 78703 Dear Whole Foods Market, Green Initiative, I am currently living close to your Lamar store and I think of getting a fresh mixed juice as a bit of a treat. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to get one without plastic. My Klean Kanteen thermos could not be used - sanitation issues - and of course one must drink a mixed drink with a straw. Next time I will bring a glass jar and see if that will work. But what about the straw? In honor of Earth Day I am writing to ask you to offer a "greener" straw. Please consider either offering paper straws in place of the plastic (they can be found at http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). Or, offer glass straws for sale at the counter or as a drink upgrade. Http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html Which would be a great idea - they are so sturdy they are guaranteed for life! Please let me know what steps you are willing to take. I appreciate the many steps you take to lessen your impact on the environment. Melissa Brown email

Sarah
Sarah

And my last set of two is to Applebees. See my previous comments for the Olive Garden. April 20, 2011 Applebees Restaurant 10172 SE 82nd Ave Happy Valley, OR 97086 Applebees 5330 West Main Street Kalamazoo, MI 49009-3304 Dear Applebees: In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your straw policies. I have noticed that many restaurants, including Applebees, have a habit of serving cold drinks with a straw already in the glass or already unwrapped. The impacts of plastic on the environment, regardless of the size, will contaminate our environment and wildlife for centuries to come. Most people don’t believe that a small straw makes an impact in either direction but every movement must start with the smallest steps. I am including a list of possible suggestions on ways you can made a difference starting today. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have found a company called Glass Dharma that makes reusable, glass straws. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I’ll look forward to visiting again someday and see if any changes have been made. Sincerely, Sarah Arkwright

Sarah
Sarah

My second two are going to two different Olive Gardens. One is in Oregon and one is in Michigan. I actually don't go to national chain restaurants at all anymore and the last times I did was last year when I visited family back in Michigan. I noticed that many of the conservation and recycling practices I take for granted in Portland are non-existent back there so I wanted to reach out and put a but in the ear of a restaurant that may not otherwise hear from a different opinion. April 20, 2011 Olive Garden 8700 Se Sunnyside Clackamas, OR 97015 Olive Garden 6700 Westnedge Ave S Portage, MI 49002 Dear Olive Garden: My family is a frequent visitor of the Olive Garden all over the country. I am writing to you in regards to your practice of giving straws to any customer ordering a cold drink. Many people see a plastic straw as a minor piece of trash that couldn’t possibly impact our environment but plastic in any form is having a dangerous and sad impact on our world and its inhabitants. However for busy establishment such as the Olive Garden, a small change to your straw policies can and will make a large impact on the environment. In honor of Earth Day, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy. 1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place. It’s like grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag. 2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (http://www.aardvarkstraws.com). 3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I have found a company called Glass Dharma that makes reusable, glass straws. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea. I’ll look forward to visiting again someday and see if any changes have been made. Sincerely, Sarah Arkwright

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  1. [...] also going to refuse plastic straws at restaurants as part of  an initiative by Beth Terry over at My Plastic Free Life to get restaurants to stop automatically handing out plastic [...]

  2. [...] Copy your letter into a comment on this blog. * remember to exclude your personal information and include restaurants contact information only See: Great Sample Letter! [...]

  3. Teaching kids about Earth Day | Parentella says:

    [...] ashamed to admit that I also through at least one straw away daily. Thankfully, I found this blog: My Plastic Free Life, As part of my Earth Day commitment, I am going to get rid of straws as well. I am going to [...]

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