By Connor Beach
In advance of a recent Suffolk Law banning plastic straws, 12 restaurants in the downtown village of Huntington have signed a “Strawless Pledge.”
In December 2018, local volunteers visited 70 establishments asking owners to make the pledge to go completely strawless, provide biodegradable straws only upon request or provide reusable alternatives to plastic. In addition to the 12 restaurants that have made the “Strawless Pledge,” seven restaurants voluntarily moved in that direction, without taking a pledge and five more have expressed interest.
Green Inside and Out, a Huntington-based nonprofit organization, led the campaign to urge Huntington village restaurants to make the switch. The campaign was coordinated with the Huntington High School Environmental Club, Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, the Long Island Sierra Club, Starflower Experiences, Healthy Planet, and Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. All of the groups sent volunteers to talk to restaurants and distribute information.
The Suffolk County Legislature adopted earlier this month a law requiring restaurants to only offer biodegradable straws and stirrers upon customer request.
The effort emerged through the Single Use Plastics Committee, led by Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Port Jefferson), who sponsored the resolution. Last summer she had announced an awareness campaign called "Strawless Suffolk.” Each restaurant signing the pledge in Huntington received a Strawless Suffolk door decal so customers can identify them.
“The Suffolk legislation is a huge success, and I am even prouder of these restaurants in my home town of Huntington village who have stepped up to be proactive in protecting our environment,” said Beth Fiteni, Director of Green Inside and Out.
Legislator William Spencer (D-Centerport) said he hopes the straw legislation will impact consumer behavior in a similar way to the five-cent fee on plastic bags.
“We have a major plastics crisis, and hopefully this will help reduce in amount of plastic in our landfills and waterways,” Spencer said.
Restaurants that have signed onto the “Strawless Pledge” include:
• Kai Poke
• Mac’s Steakhouse
• New York Panini
• Pazzo Paisanos
• Osteria da Nino
• Red Restaurant
• The Rust & Gold
• Sapsuckers Hops & Grub
• Stella Blue
• The Shed Restaurant