San Francisco restaurant fights plastic waste one margarita at a time

Byby Juan Carlos Guerrero KGO logo
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
SF restaurant bans plastic straws
While cities like San Francisco and Berkeley look into banning plastic straws, some restaurants, like Tacolicious, are forging ahead by getting rid of straws all together.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- First it was plastic bags. Now, a new campaign is underway to ban plastic straws and other disposable food ware used in restaurants.

Last week, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin introduced an ordinance that would require food establishments use reusable cups, dishes and utensils. San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang is working on legislation that will likely ban straws and reduce the use of single use cups.

RELATED: Berkeley ordinance would curb disposable food packaging

But one San Francisco restaurant is ahead of the curve.

"We don't have plastic straws anymore. They're gone," said Sara Deseran, marketing and brand director for Tacolicious.

After meeting with the Surfrider Foundation, the restaurant banned plastic straws at its five locations in San Francisco, Palo Alto and San Jose, and at its two San Francisco bars, Mosto and Bar San Pancho.

VIDEO: Viral sea turtle video fuels campaign against plastic straws

Even though straws are small, they can create serious environmental problems, so now a growing number of activists say it's time to just say no.

Tacolicious estimates it used more than 600,000 straws a year at its restaurants.

"The thing about straws is that they are so little. No one thinks about the impact they are making. By eliminating those straws, so much is being saved from landfills and the oceans," adds Deseran.

According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, about two-thirds of the litter found in ocean comes from single-use food waste, and one of the top items are plastic straws.

Tacolicious has not stopped there. It worked with the food delivery service Caviar to include a question on food orders asking customers if they want plastic forks and knives, which many times end up in the trash without being used. It is also working towards making sure all its single-use food containers are compostable. The goal is to be certified as an ocean-friendly restaurant.

RELATED: Scientists launch major study of microplastics pollution in San Francisco

Customers that ask for one can still get a straw made of paper. But the intention is to convince people that they don't need a straw at all, either at Tacolicious or other restaurants.

"It's such an easy thing to do to start drinking your margaritas, your cocktails, without a straw," said Deseran.