Few things in a restaurant are more frustrating than a paper straw. The soggy mouthfeel, the eventual bend in the middle, the inevitable disintegration before your drink is finished. It's a less-than-ideal solution to the problem of plastic straws, which we know can be detrimental to wildlife—especially here on the Gulf Coast.
The Manatee County-based breakfast and lunch chain First Watch, which has more than 440 restaurants in 28 states, is battling the straw dilemma by partnering with a company called WinCup, Inc. to replace the 30 million plastic straws the company uses annually. The new straws, called Phade, are made of a substance that naturally breaks down in a matter of months. They also look and feel like plastic, to combat those paper straw blues.
"With our home office located in Florida, not too far from our coastal beaches and state parks, we are proud to do our part to protect the environment," Matt Eisenacher, senior vice president of brand strategy and innovation at First Watch, said in a press release. "Though our work is ongoing and we still have far to go, we see this as a critical step along our journey to minimizing our plastic footprint."
This isn't the company's first foray into sustainable practices. The restaurant offers Project Sunrise coffee, which supports independent female farmers in Colombia. It has also switched to recyclable paper to-go bags, paper napkins and containers made from post-consumer waste fibers.
First Watch is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week at several locations throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties. For more information visit the restaurant's website.