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Feb 23

Straw Reduction Initiative

Posted on February 23, 2023 at 10:05 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

As part of ongoing sustainability and waste reduction efforts, Ontario County’s Department of Sustainability & Solid Waste Management has launched a new initiative aimed at reducing the number of plastic straws being thrown out in the area. The County is launching the “Every Sip Counts” initiative on National Skip the Straw Day, February 24. New York Kitchen in Canandaigua will provide the County an opportunity to discuss the campaign and distribute materials to those establishments that wish to participate during a kickoff event being held at their location.

It is estimated that as many as 390 million plastic straws get thrown away every day in the United States and it takes a straw 200 years to breakdown. Studies have also found that the majority of customers choose not to take a straw when they are offered one. 

Participating local establishments, like New York Kitchen, are not required to get rid of straws entirely but instead are asking customers to request a straw instead of being provided one automatically. Some restaurants have already taken it upon themselves to transition to paper straws or implement an opt-in approach. The Every Sip Counts initiative is a call for all local establishments to join with those that are already making strides to reduce the negative impact of plastic waste on our environment.

 “Many residents in our County already value our region’s environmental health and have adopted behaviors like skipping the straw or using reusable utensils when they are out.” stated Carla Jordan, Director of the Ontario County Department of Sustainability & Solid Waste Management. Jordan continued, “Every Sip Counts is a great way for businesses to show their customers that they value it too, by helping reduce the use of single use plastics in their establishments."

In addition to the positive impacts on sustainability, deterring straw usage has other benefits like reducing operating costs. The Department of Sustainability has created tools and resources to help establishments implement this policy and promote it to their customers. Local businesses that are interested in joining the initiative can get access to things like window decals, table tents, and pins for free by committing to implement the opt-in policy with their customers. The educational materials will be available for pickup during the kickoff event or at the Department of Sustainability’s Office upon advanced request.

New York Kitchen’s Executive Director, Alyssa Belasco, stated: “Sustainability is one of New York Kitchen’s core values, and we are thrilled to champion the Every Sip Counts initiative alongside Ontario County. We invite others to join us in straw reduction efforts by simply shifting to providing straws upon request, and collectively, these efforts will help to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The straw reduction effort is just one part of the ongoing waste diversion efforts of the County. The Department of Sustainability & Solid Waste Management provides information and resources to support Ontario County residents in their recycling and waste reduction efforts throughout the year.

For more information about Every Sip Counts, how to sign up as a business, and other recycling related questions, visit or call 585-393-3090.