When he founded the company 12 years ago Peter Borg-Neal’s vision was that he’d not only create a highly-regarded, very successful business but that Oakman Inns would be a sustainable organisation that would contribute to its local community rather than exploit it.
Peter and his pals launched their Ban The Straw campaign recently (#banthestraw) on Earth Day, declaring “We believe straws suck”.
The company currently uses over 100,000 plastic straws a month across the Group and the sheer number of straws consumed had begun to be a concern.
“Our monthly straw consumption sounds enormous” explained Peter, “but compared to the estimated 500 million straws that are used and discarded in the USA every day, it’s still a hugely dangerous and an everlasting drop in the ocean. And that is rather the point.
“It sounds ridiculous, but it’s entirely accurate to say that every plastic straw that was ever made still exists today. They pollute landfills, rivers, roadsides, sewers, beaches and of course oceans and this relatively small amount that this pub group is taking out of circulation, needs to be repeated by every one of my colleagues across the hospitality industry.”
If customers ask for a straw, they will, of course, be offered an eco-friendly alternative as Oakman is entirely sympathetic to their customers’ wishes.
Alex Ford, Oakman’s Operations Director, added, “From 2020, all plastic cutlery and plates will be banned in France. Bangladesh was the first country in the world in 2002 to ban plastic shopping bags and California banned single-use plastic bags in 2014.
“Yes, the UK has introduced a charge for plastic carrier bags and has banned microbeads, the tiny plastic balls used in cosmetics and cleaning products, but I believe we all have to do more.
“Because pretty soon every fish we eat will have ingested some plastic and that will become a truly global environmental disaster that will probably be impossible to solve.”