By David Highfield


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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The effort to eliminate plastic drinking straws got a boost Monday as Starbucks announced it’ll phase them out.

It’s part of a growing concern about our oceans. In fact, some cities have banned the straws entirely.

And some Pittsburgh dining spots have already taken steps to limit plastic straws.

At Roland’s Seafood Grill in the Strip, they won’t give you a straw unless you ask for it.

They offer an explanation at the top of the menu. It details that 500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the U.S. alone, and they want to reduce ocean pollution.

Some of the people there enjoying the seafood, think it’s the right move.

“It does makes sense, and I think a lot of restaurants are on board with it now, and if it becomes a national thing, it can only be good,” Erin Oates said.

“I know even with the rings that are typically around pop cans, I always cut those up before I throw them away,” Sean Oates said. “Because I had read that it would get around fish and ducks and around their necks and choke them.”

The current campaign against plastic straws got a big boost from a viral video of a sea turtle with a straw being pulled from a nostril.

In addition to Roland’s, Meat and Potatoes Downtown now only gives out straws when you ask.

And the Tribune Review reports similar policies are in place at Senti Restaurant and Wine Bar in Lawrenceville and Butcher and the Rye Downtown.

It also reports that Merchant Oyster Company in Lawrenceville now only uses paper or metal straws.

At Restaurant Depot in Lawrenceville, where restaurants buy supplies, they don’t sell paper straws yet, but the manager says they realize there’s now a demand and will begin selling them soon.

Starbucks says it will totally eliminate plastic straws by the year 2020, replacing them with biodegradable materials like paper or specially designed lids.

David Highfield