In early February, Georgia Southern University’s Dining Commons decided to remove all plastic straws from Landrum due to costly drainage issues; however, just a few weeks later they were returned in full.
Why were the straws taken away?
According to Bud Fleming, the Dining Commons general manager, the catalyst for Landrum administration’s decision was due to the fact that after the use of each student’s straw, they were not being disposed of properly. After this issue was brought to light it was noted that the straws were causing issues within the pipes that over time caused about $27,000 worth of damages.
During the short span of time that the straws were removed, Landrum didn’t experience any further issues and Fleming predicted that over the course of a year it should save about $90,000 in total.
“As a university we go through thousands of straws on a daily basis and they were getting into [the university’s] drainage system causing backups and costing us a lot of money,” Crawford said.
Crawford also clarified that the straws were not the only factor causing drainage issues, because it was more of a sustainability issue and not having the plastic straws and paper wrappers would be a positive in the long run.
In a year, over $50,000 is spent in straws. Taking the straws away did help the issue, but it didn’t completely solve it.
Charles Glover, GSU’s Student Government Association Vice President of Auxiliary Affairs, explained that he took the initiative and spoke with Jeffery Yawn, Director of Eagle Dining Services, after the straws were taken away. SGA took part in the straw dilemma after hearing complaints from the student body.
After meeting with the director, Glover stated that he could see where the Dining Commons workers were coming from in the issue of a possible disposal risk. Glover also explained that during their meeting they discussed alternative options however nothing has been set in stone thus far.
Why were the straws reinstated?
Crawford explained that after they cleaned out the drains and figured out that it wasn’t solely the straws then they decided to bring them back in.
“The department did look into some alternative options, but in the end it would be double the cost,” Crawford said.
Possible alternative options that were looked at and are still being discussed would be giving all the dinning commons refillable cups with attached pop-out straws, so they would be able to come in and out; however, that is not set in stone.
Glover addressed their meetings with SGA and stated that they recognized the students’ disapproval.
Glover said, “At this point we’ve reached a safe compromise and they’re discarding the straws into the proper receptacles.”