Restaurants are finding alternatives for plastic straws

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The Buffalo Zoo is home to wildlife that fortunately, doesn't have to deal with harmful debris that many animals have to face in the wild. 

The waste is a major problem for the environment, as 80 percent of harmful debris found in oceans is plastic waste including can liners and straws. 

It is estimated that in the United States, 500 million straws are used and discarded everyday. 

Starbucks announced that they plan to be a straw-less company by 2020. They plan to change their cup lids to look more like a sippy-cup where a straw is not needed. 

Buffalo based Delaware North is also doing their part. The airport concessions and dining company operates businesses across the country, and has launched its "Last Straw" Campaign. All of the 200+ dining locations will not serve a plastic straw unless someone asks for one. 

The Buffalo Zoo has a different alternative. 

For years, the Zoo has used paper straws and products as much as they could to decrease the waste in landfills and oceans. 

"There's lots of alternatives," Christian Dobosiewicz, the Communications Manager for the Buffalo Zoo said. "If you have reusable straws like reusable water bottles and things like that, that is even better because it is eliminating wastes."

People seem to be happy to give up sipping out of a straw, if it helps protect animals and the environment. 

"My family was not happy with the paper straw, they bent and then they tried to chew on them and that didn't work either," Jane Koogan a visitor of the Zoo said. "But it's just something we have to get used to, to save the animals." 

"I find it to be a waste, if I need one I'll ask for one" Chris Barnum said, another visitor of the Zoo. 

One visitor prefers the paper straws to plastic ones. 

"If we could recycle and use paper straws, that's what I grew up on and they were really pretty good," Pat Henley added. 

The Zoo has also eliminated single use plastic bags in the gift shop. 

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