You may not have noticed it, but for the last six months your drink at Kapow! Noodle Bar probably didn’t come with a straw.
The Mizner Park restaurant announced over the weekend over social media that they would be eliminating straws in an effort to reduce its single-use plastics.
“For us, it was the low-hanging fruit in making a large impact with single-use plastics,” said Vaughan Dugan, Kapow! co-owner. “A lot of things can be recycled—we do our best to recycle—but straws always slip through the cracks.”
The restaurant is a part of the Subculture Group, a collection of restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties such as Dada, Subculture Coffee Roasters, Dubliner, Honey. The first of the group to eliminate straws, the other businesses are following suit and Dugan said within 90 days they should all be straw-free.
Dugan and his team calculated that the Boca Raton location of Kapow! used roughly 300,000 straws and stirrers last year. With all the businesses getting rid of them, the company will likely eliminate close to 3 million straws from landfills and oceans—not only does it take plastic straws a few hundred years to decompose, being so close to the ocean, many marine animals accidentally mistake the straws and other plastics for food and choke on them.
The Subculture Group is active in the community, including beach cleanups, where one of the top five items collected are straws. The initiative then began with staffers who wanted to see the company use less straws, and they started to not bring straws with drinks. Most people didn’t even notice, and of those who asked about it, only about one-quarter asked for a straw.
“I don’t have a box of straws at home. I don’t use them at home—I don’t think any of us use it at home,” Dugan said. “You kind of get addicted to having a straw in your drink whether you need it or not.”
Although Kapow! made an official statement over the weekend, the initiative has been going on for roughly six months. They were motivated to publicize the change when Death or Glory in Delray Beach asked its followers on Facebook their thoughts on switching over to paper straws.
“We’re definitely not the first one to do this and hopefully we’re not the last,” Dugan said. “If we can create a wave of this we can see greater change.”