Published: August 14, 2018
The University of Tampa, in partnership with its dining services provider, Sodexo, has announced that dining facilities will no longer offer single-use plastic straws and stirrers.
UT President Ronald Vaughn said UT and Sodexo chose to make the change due to the detrimental environmental impacts of plastic straws.
“Especially being in Florida, on the bank of the Hillsborough River, we want to improve the health of our nearby waterways and oceans, and reduce our overall environmental impact,” Vaughn said. “Removing plastic straws and other plastic products helps with the much bigger sustainability issue.”
Paper straws will be available upon request.
UT and Sodexo join numerous other companies in going strawless, including Starbucks, Disney, Hyatt, Busch Gardens, and the Florida cities of Miami Beach, Fort Myers Beach and St. Petersburg.
According to reports, Americans use 500 million straws every day, and by 2050, it’s projected there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
The strawless initiative goes hand-in-hand with UT’s efforts to substantially reduce its use of other plastic products on campus:
- Over the past three years, UT has installed 54 water bottle refill stations on campus. This has eliminated the use of 2.4 million single-use plastic bottles.
- This fall Sodexo will offer biodegradable clamshell to-go containers that are microwavable and refrigerator safe, as well as soak proof and oil resistant.
- Hot and cold Styrofoam or plastic cups and lids will be replaced with cups and lids fabricated with 100 percent compostable, disposable material.
These initiatives are the most recent in UT’s multi-dimensional campus sustainability efforts, which have been a priority for 25 years. For example, UT’s new Graduate and Health Studies Building is a candidate to be the sixth LEED certified building on campus. For more information about UT’s sustainability efforts, go to www.ut.edu/sustainability.