WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - You won't be able to find a plastic straw on Purdue's campus anymore.
The university made a campus-wide transition from plastic straws to paper ones. The transition was completed Monday as students returned from spring break.
Last year alone, Dining and Catering officials estimated that 650 thousand plastic straws were used. This is just one of several initiatives created by Purdue's Dining and Catering services to promote the use of recyclable products and waste reduction on campus.
The new straws replace plastic straws in all retail outlets, on-the-go locations in dining halls and Marriott Hall.
Students like Jacob Espinoza and Sophia Andreotti believe the transition will bring results in the long run.
"I've been hearing a lot about how plastic straws are polluting the oceans and I think any step in the right direction is a good step,” said Espinoza
"Every small step is a step in the right direction, so I think starting small and getting bigger as time goes on will really help the environment,” said Andreotti
The debate on eliminating plastic straws hasn't just been limited to campus. Purdue's decision to eliminate plastic straws aligns with West Lafayette's recent vote for a resolution that would reduce the use of plastic straws.
It urges commercial and educational establishments to reduce the use of plastic straws.
The new straws are marine degradable and compostable.
While the straws provide a green alternative to plastic, students like sophomore Liz Schmidt believe the push towards a greener campus needs to be larger than just straws.
"Plastic straws are an issue, but compared to the amount of plastic we actually use, I think straws kind of honestly are irrelevant,” said Schmidt.
The new straws are manufactured in Fort Wayne from FDA-compliant, food-grade materials. They take 45 to 60 days to fully decompose.