WEST LAFAYETTE – The drink you pick up in the lower level restaurants in the Purdue Union Memorial will come with a paper straw, instead of a plastic one, starting the first day back from spring break on the West Lafayette campus.
A transition from plastic to paper straws will be complete by Monday, Tom Coleman, director of retail dining for Purdue Dining & Catering, said this week.
The change will affect 32 operations on campus, including all the restaurants assembled in food court-style in the Purdue Memorial Union. The change will not affect Purdue’s five dining courts, Coleman said, because straws haven’t been options in those. But it will change the kinds of straws offered in the On-The-Go locations in three of the five dining courts.
According to Purdue Dining & Catering statistics, campus dining and retail locations used an estimated 650,000 plastic straws in the past year.
“The transition to paper straws represents our commitment to sustainability and follows trends we are seeing worldwide,” Coleman said in a university release. “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.”
According to the university, Purdue is getting its paper straws via Aardvark Straws, a supplier based in Fort Wayne. The company touts that its paper straws fully decompose in 45 to 60 days when composted and in six months or fewer in marine environments.