The last straw? USF Dining aims to reduce carbon footprint, one straw at a time

Students and customers who request a to-go meal at a USF dining facility receive everything they need: the translucent green to-go box, a set of plasticware and a paper cup to drink out of.

Recently sucked out from this set of utensils, however, is the disposable plastic straw. As of this month, straws are being providedless freely around campus dining facilities.

Jenna Burns, marketing manager for USF Dining, said in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, all four campus dining halls will only provide straws upon request at the cashier stands for at least the rest of the summer. At fountain beverage areas, drinking straws will no longer be provided.

(The straw withdrawal) is currently on a trial basis, she said. A final decision for the fall has not yet been made.

Yet as of Wednesday, plastic straws were still seen freely available at the P.O.D. Market soda fountain in Juniper-Poplar Hall.

Director of the Office of Sustainability Christian Wells said the discussion about implementing a no-straw policy began last fall.

There was some informal discussion last year and earlier this year about exploring ways to limit the availability of straws at some dining locations, because the enormous amount of plastic waste associated with the disposal of drinking straws at USF contributes to many environmental problems, he said.

Some students in the Juniper Dining Hall saw the absence of their straws as only a minor inconvenience.

Daniel Velasco, a freshman, noticed his straw missing from his to-go utensils about a week ago, but did not think much of it.

I dont think it makes a difference, he said. Its fine as long as we get to keep the lid thats where I draw the line.

Lids, he said, are vital to preventing spills.

Cynthia Rosario, a freshman majoring in electrical engineering, said she was willing to make the sacrifice for the overall well-being of the planet.

It is a little annoying, she said. But if it helps the environment, then its worth it.