The Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island Chapter encourages all local businesses, particularly restaurants and food retailers, from providing plastic straws to customers and instead only allowing paper straws or re-usable straws, upon request.

Did You Know?

– Plastic by-products do not degrade naturally, but break up into infinitely smaller pieces, which get ingested by sea life
– Plastic contains toxins which travel up the food chain and end up on our plates
– Plastic straws fill ocean gyres
– Plastic straws kill marine life and other organisms

What We Are Doing

Reaching out to restaurants and bars
– Asking them to eliminate using plastic straws
– Asking them to only provide paper straws on request or offer reusable glass or metal straws
– Encouraging friendly competition to get other businesses to join in

Expanding awareness and creating positive change
– Order your drinks without a straw
– Purchase your own reusable straw available in metal, glass and bamboo
– Help to share this campaign, encourage your favorite businesses to contact us on our website, Facebook page or email , for resources on how to best go strawless and switch to paper on demand
– Join our Facebook pages Rise Above Plastics and Surfrider VI to get more info and share our stories

What to do with the plastics straws now? We don’t want them ending up in the landfills!
– Businesses can ask their wholesalers for a credit
– Donate for craft projects to your local school, church, daycares

Let’s end the consumption of single use plastic, starting with straws, this will lead to other products like utensils, stir sticks and plastic bottles.

Business Owners Reference Guide

Suggested Signage

In an effort to protect the health of our ocean, lakes, and surrounding natural environment, we now only provide drinking straws on request. Please let your server know if you require a straw. Thank you for your support.

Alternatively, Surfrider can provide a customized file for a page-sized poster we created that will have your business name mentioned. All you need to do is print it.

Where can I find alternative straws?

Ask your wholesaler, or below are some resources to help you start looking. Ask to return plastic straws for a credit or ask us for other suggestions, we are working on, of what to do with them.

Preferred option, as they are easily recycled, works out to be about .06 cents/straw for 400+ order
– Aardvark (US) -gives 50% discount for Surfrider businesses, use promo- RESTAURANTS50
– Green Munch (Calgary)

– Enviro Glass Straw, (Cobble Hill) – Offering 5% off for 50 straws, 10% for over 100 straws and 20% for 200 or more straws with either packaging or no packaging
– Zero Waste Emporium at 1728 Douglas St
– West Coast Refill at 1319 Broad St

Stainless Steel
– Onyx (Vancouver)
– Zero Waste Emporium at 1728 Douglas St
– West Coast Refill at 1319 Broad St

NOT recommended as the lower mainland facilities (where most of our compost goes to), do not compost plastic or plastic like materials, as there is no way to tell the difference, they then go to the landfills (re: Recycling Hotline 604-732-9253). Only truly compostable if packaging states a certification symbol and then only suitable mainly in industrial facilities.

Eco-ware (Victoria)
Only recommended if you have a facility that can actually can handle plastic compostables. We are not aware of any at this time.

NOT recommended as it does not break down efficiently in a landfill, not compostable or certified as safe, for the natural environment, once degraded.

*Be aware- Straws can come wrapped in plastic covers; and there are some paper straws that have a thin plastic coating. Ask before ordering to ensure you are getting the best environmentally friendly products.

Environmental Impact of Plastic Straws

– Plastic by-products do not degrade naturally, but break up into infinitely smaller pieces, which get ingested by sea life
– Plastic contains toxins which travel up the food chain and end up on our plates
– Plastic straws fill ocean gyres
– Plastic straws kill marine life and other organisms

Did you know approximately 500,000,000 single use plastic drinking straws are used and discarded every day? That is enough straws to fill 46,400 large school buses per year! This totals out to around 12 million pounds of plastic waste over a year and they are not recyclable. These petroleum plastics are designed to last forever and many of these straws break down into what’s known as micro-plastics and pollute our drinking water, sea salt and seafood.

Straws are often littered, or caught by the wind, and washed into storm drains that empty into streams and other waterways, ultimately ending up in our ocean and on our beaches. Plastic straws rank in the top 10 for marine debris. 44% of all seabird species and 22% of cetaceans have ingested plastic.

Plastic straws are difficult or impossible to recycle and even biodegradable plastic straws are often discarded in landfills and do not biodegrade when littered in a marine environment or if they are not in the right industrial environment.

Report on Compostable and Biodegradable Plastics

Learn the differences between the different types of alternative plastics, and why some can be problematic.

PDF Download

Certified Compostable Products

To search for certified compostable products visit the Biodegradable Products Institute website


Frequently Asked Questions

Eco-Cycle has put together a list of their most frequently asked questions about going plastic Straw-Free


List of Alternatives

The Last Plastic Straw has put together a list of alternatives on their website


The Long Beach Lodge Resort, in Tofino, has stopped its practice of using 12,000 straws each year.

Clean Water Action in Montclair, New Jersey, said that one business, who offers straws on demand only, is using only about a tenth of the straws it typically uses on a monthly basis: 650 straws, down from the usual 6,800.

The Following Businesses Have Taken The Pledge

Fernwood Pizza Company 2009 Fernwood Road
Finest At Sea 27 Erie St. (Food Truck)
Indecent Risotto 732 Heaslip Place (Food Truck)
The Joint Pizzeria 1219 Wharf Street
Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria and Market 2908 Tieulie Place, Shirley
Victoria Event Centre 1415 Broad St
Bridgeman’s Bistro, Mill Bay 740 Handy Road, Mill Bay
The Churchill 1140 Government St
Garricks Head Pub 1140 Government St/69 Bastion Square
The Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Fort St 500 Fort Street
The Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Quadra St 3940 Quadra Street
Merridale Cider and Distillery 1230 Merridale Rd, Cobble Hill
Moby’s Pub on SSI 124A Upper Ganges Rd, Salt Spring Island
Everything Bagel in Port Alberni #6 4505 Victoria Quay, Port Alberni
Little Jumbo 506 Fort Street
Strathcona Hotel (Distrikt, Sticky, Rooftop) 919 Douglas St
Canoe BrewPub 450 Swift St
Bubby’s Kitchen 355 Cook St
Be Love 1019 Blanshard Street
Café Bliss 556 Pandora Avenue
Bliss Whole Foods 3587 Blanshard Street
Cafe select noodle house 1950 Oak Bay Ave
Fernwood Inn 1302 Gladstone Ave
Spinnakers 308 Catherine St
Darcy’s Pub Downtown 1127 Wharf St
Darcy’s Pub Westshore 737 Goldstream Ave
The Duke Saloon 502 Discovery St
Upstairs Cabaret 15 Bastion Square
Bartholomew’s English Style Pub 777 Douglas Street
Shai’s Diner 910 1/2 Esquimalt Rd
Pizza Hut (Langford) 745 Goldstream
Steamship Grill & Bar 470 Belleville

Business Pledge Form

On February 3rd, Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island Chapter (SFVI) celebrated International Plastic Straw Free Day and officially launched our Straws Suck campaign! Will your business join the movement? Or have you already gone plastic straw-free?

What’s in it for you? Surfrider will promote your success as an environmentally friendly business!

As a Plastic Straw-Free Business, Surfrider will link you to a global movement by highlighting 5 STAR and 4 STAR businesses on our SFVI website, and all tiers on our social media pages with over 4500 subscribers Rise Above Plastics Facebook page, SFVI Facebook Page and Twitter. We will also highlight 5 STAR and 4 STAR as green business leaders at our outreach events!

Straws Suck Pledge Form

  • As the owner or manager of (name of business) I am officially participating in the Straws Suck movement as part of an effort to keep my community pollution free and stop plastic pollution at the source.
  • As a participating business, we commit to one of the following;

    5 STAR = Disposable Straw-Free Business! No single use straws or offer reusable straws (steel, glass or bamboo) only
    4 STAR = Paper straws, only on request
    3 STAR = Biodegradable or Compostable Straws, only on request (and will look at switching to paper by year end, see note below)
    2 STAR = Paper straws on display, with signage “In an effort to protect our environment, please take only if necessary” OR Paper straws provided for specialty drinks only.
    1 STAR = Straws only on request (plastic, with commitment to switch to paper by year end).
  • Note: Biodegradable does not break down efficiently and is not certified as safe for the natural environment once degraded. Compostable is only truly compostable if packaging states a 100% compostable certification symbol and then mainly in specialized, high heat, industrial facilities (there is only 1 facility on the island, in Chemainus, that takes a very small portion of our compostable waste, the rest goes into the landfills). Move up a level by switching to paper!
  • Contact Person

On behalf of our Oceans, Waves and Beaches, we all thank you for this! Please consider also becoming a Surfrider Approved Business, as a part of the Ocean Friendly Business Certification program.

Project Lead

Ali Ruddy - Rise Above Plastics