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Fresno State Says Suck Less. Straw Ban in Dining Hall.
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 6 years ago on
August 21, 2018

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The #StopSucking movement has reached Fresno State.
While students are returning to campus, straws have not. University Dining Services stopped serving the drinking device when the fall semester resumed this week.

No Straws at Dining Halls

“I’m trying to be cutting edge, trying to be more sustainable.”Deborah Guill, dining hall manager
Deborah Guill, dining services manager, says it is about the environment.
“It’s a very big movement right now of sustainability,” Guill said.  Straws also complicated the dining hall’s attempt at recycling.
“Having the straws mix in with the organic wet waste is kind of a problem,” she said.
Guill presented her idea to the dining hall management team, influenced by straw bans elsewhere.
“Straws are being banned in other cities and counties, in the Bay Area. And I said (to the management team), what do you think about attempting to go strawless?” Guill said.
Pacific Standard writer David Perry has debunked many of the anti-straw stats — including some of those cited in the dining hall poster.
The team decided to limit the straw ban to the dining hall as a pilot program. The straw ban only applies to the school cafeteria, and not to other campus restaurants.
She admits that she never received complaints beforehand about straws from the university community.

Following a Trend

Fresno State’s dining hall joined Starbucks, Disney and other major corporations banning straws. Other cities, such as San Francisco and Santa Barbara restrict the use of straws as well.
On Monday (Aug. 20), the state Senate voted 25-12 on AB 1884 to limit restaurant’s use of straws. The law would require customers to specifically request a straw, instead of being automatically served one at a sit-down restaurant.
Guill noted that there are no straw regulations in Fresno, but she wants to be the trendsetter.
“I’m trying to be cutting edge, trying to be more sustainable. This is not something that is irreversible at this point. It is not being forced upon us. It is something that we should explore,” Guill said.

Straw Ban Criticized

State Sen. Andy Vidak included a popular meme of a person carrying straws as they would a concealed firearm in his criticism of the trend.


Other critics note that eliminating straws may affect disabled drinkers. Guill said the dining hall will keep a stack of straws available for customers who request them.
A sign posted next to the soda machine at the dining hall lists nine reasons why Fresno State removed straws. Among the reasons — straws are the most common beach litter item, the environmental harm of plastic, and the damage straws can cause skin and teeth.
One figure cited, that Americans use 500 million straws a year, is dubious at best.
“Eco-Cycle itself got the 500 million straws a day figure from 9-year-old Milo Cress, who surveyed three straw manufacturers to get their estimations of the size of the straw market. Market analysts put daily straw usage in the United States closer to 175 million,” Christian Brtischgi wrote on Reason.
Pacific Standard writer David Perry has debunked many of the anti-straw stats — including some of those cited in the dining hall poster.

Diners OK With Ban

Freshman Rocio Ramirez of Guadalupe, enjoying a meal with friends at the dining hall, said Monday that he supported the ban.
“I don’t mind, I think it’s cool. I think about the turtles, right? Because of the turtles. Save the turtles,” she said.
Fellow freshman Prabir Parajuli of Nepal agreed.
“I think it’s better if you don’t use straws. It is plastic and it’s really hard to reuse it, recycle it,” Parajuli said. He added that it is not that much of an inconvenience to drink without it.
This is not the first adjustment students have had to make in the dining hall.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. Over a decade ago, we went trayless,” Guill said. “That was big news. … It was for sustainability, cutting down on food waste, cutting down on washing wear and chemicals and stuff. It was an adjustment period, but for the most part, it was very positive. I’m hoping straws end up being the same situation.”
 

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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