By Susan Mustapich
Village Soup news story
CAMDEN — A simple suggestion from staff at the Camden Sea Dog Brewing Co. is rapidly cutting down on the number of plastic straws used at the restaurant and brewpub.
Earlier this month, wait staff and bartenders stopped putting straws in most drinks, including water, unless a straw is requested, according to general manager Robert Labbe. “If customers don’t ask, we don’t put a straw in the drink,” Labbe said. “Right off the top, it’s easy to do.” Of course customers will get a straw if they want one, he said.
The idea to reduce the use of straws came directly from the employees, according to Labbe. “While the company is certainly in support, it’s not a directive from above. It’s a movement started by a few of our staff,” he said. A number of employees have joined an organization called The Last Plastic Straw, and have printed off some information that sits right on the bar about the benefits of using fewer straws.
Labbe supports anything the restaurant can do to reduce rubbish, especially with its location at Camden Harbor. The overall goal is to reduce the number of plastic straws used, which Labbe thinks might already be down by 30 to 40 percent. Completely eliminating straws would be “a long haul,” he said. Straws come with kids drinks served in plastic cups and certain types of bar drinks.
The brew pub also sends its food waste off to be transformed into bio fuel, according to Labbe.
Bartender Ali Simonds, who gets excited about things like recycling, said the food waste collection is a “great program, and is also used by other Sea Dog brew pubs around the state.”
The Camden brewpub does not use any Styrofoam products, and its to-go containers are made of a paper product that can be composted.