Purdue ditching plastic straws for paper

Purdue University - West Lafayette (photo courtesy Purdue University)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WTHR) — Purdue Dining and Catering is making the switch from plastic to paper straws in Purdue’s residential and retail outlets.

Starting Monday, people will only receive paper straws.

This is at all retail outlets along with residential halls and On-The-Go locations.

Dining and Catering officials estimate 650,000 plastic straws were used in campus dining and retail locations last year.

“The transition to paper straws represents our commitment to sustainability and follows trends we are seeing worldwide,” says Tom Coleman, director of retail dining. “Replacing plastic straws with paper reduces environmental risk with a biodegradable product. The local impact of this transition will help reduce unnecessary waste on campus.”

The paper straws used by Dining & Catering will be locally sourced from Aardvark, located in Fort Wayne. Aardvark paper straws are the only paper straws on the market that are made in the U.S., use only FDA-compliant food-grade materials and are marine degradable and compostable, according to the company’s website.

The website also says that under typical composting conditions, Aardvark straws take 45 to 60 days to fully decompose and six months or fewer in marine environments.

“It’s not only important to us to make this transition, but it is also exciting that we are able to partner with another Indiana-based business to make this happen,” Coleman said. “Using a locally-sourced product further contributes to an environmentally friendly practice by reducing the amount of resources used to ship product as well as the distance it must be shipped.”

This is just one of the programs being done to reduce waste. Other projects include a reusable cup program, biodiesel production from fryer oil and grease products, zero-waste events, recycling programs and the use of recycled take-out containers.

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