Ditch the Disposable Straw
Disposable plastic straws have not been distributed at the majority of campus catering outlets since the policy on disposable plastic straws came into effect in September 2018.
Catering outlets that are centrally managed are required to follow the policy on disposable plastic straws while many independent outlets will also do their part to reduce disposable plastic straws on campus. Each catering outlet has their own plan to comply with the policy. Find out about each catering outlet's policy here.
Why Ditch the Disposable Straw?
Plastic straws are amongst the most frequently collected items in international beach clean-ups.
These straws, usually made of Polypropylene (PP) plastic, are highly durable and non-degradable. While PP is recyclable, PP straws are generally not recyclable around the world. As a result of this, almost all the plastic straws we use end up as waste.
Despite this, a great amount of plastic straws is used in our daily life. According to our survey, around 84,000 straws are disposed on HKU campus in a typical month.
Alternatives to Plastic Straws:
Reusable Straw Comparison:
There are various types of reusable straws on the market, but reusable doesn't necessarily mean sustainable. The production, transportation, and disposal of almost all these straws have environmental costs and produce pollutants.
Check out our chart to see how they stack up!
Frequently Asked Questions:
I use straws to prevent tooth decay and erosion - What if I have concerns about my dental health?
There is scientific evidence suggesting that using straws can reduce dental erosion and possibly tooth decay, however, the most important factor in the prevention of tooth decay is to eat less frequently, minimise drinking beverages or eating foods that are sugary and acidic, and maintain good oral hygiene.
Am I still able to get straws on campus after the straw ban?
Each catering outlet has a different policy on the distribution of straws. In certain campus catering outlets, paper straws will be given upon request, while others will not provide straws to customers. Click here to see which outlets will or will not provide disposable straws on request.
Regardless, we strongly recommend you to get a reusable straw, which are available on campus at Bijas and the SU Co-op Shop, or at various other retail outlets around town.
All catering outlets on campus have also been instructed to keep a small supply of straws for people with medical needs. If you have a health or medical condition which requires you to use a straw, all catering outlets on campus should still be able to provide you with a disposable drinking straw on request.
I find it really inconvenient to carry around my reusable straws and I don't want to drink from the cup directly.
Although it may be a little extra effort to use a reusable straw or ditch straws completely, consider the effect on the environment. A disposable straw may make your life marginally easier for a few minutes, but it will then be discarded and likely end up in a landfill or the natural environment for hundreds of years. By making a small change to ditch straws, we can create a big impact to protect the environment.
Compiled by Sustainablity Office Intern Kimberlee Onsiong 2018