A pizza restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming, is one of many area restaurants that have committed to reducing plastic waste by cutting back on or eliminating plastic straws, with a nudge from a small but dedicated local group called Straw Free Jackson Hole (SFJH).
Pizzeria Caldera, which offers Neapolitan-style pies, made the switch to paper straws in the spring of 2019, and recently received positive coverage for the move in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. The restaurant uses environmentally friendly straws from an American company called Aardvark in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Aardvark offers a variety of durable paper straws in different sizes for soft drinks, cocktails, bubble teas, milkshakes and malts as well as custom straws designed for brands and events.
“The only plastic single-serve items we still use—because they are extremely difficult to find replacements for—are portion cups and beverage cup lids,” Chris Hansen, who co-owns Pizzeria Caldera with his wife, Miga Rossetti, told the News and Guide.
Teton County, where Jackson is located, has adopted the Road to Zero Waste initiative to conserve resources, save money, create jobs and sustain the health of the environment. The city has committed to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost as much material as possible. At present, the county diverts—or keeps out of landfills—33 percent of discards and aims for 60 percent diversion by 2030.
Straw Free Jackson Hole, which consists of just five environmentally minded volunteers, has helped lead efforts to convince local businesses to ditch single-use plastic, especially straws. The group’s volunteer coordinator, Julie Deardorff, told the News and Guide that about 45 restaurants are working to reduce or eliminate plastic straws.
Hand Fire Pizza is another Jackson restaurant that has committed to reducing plastic waste. Hand Fire offers wood-fired pizzas using sustainable and organic ingredients, including hormone-free, sustainably raised and fairly sourced meats and vegetables.
Other local restaurants participating in the straw-free movement include Hatch Taqueria and Tequilas, Local Restaurant and Bar, Trio: An American Bistro, The Granary, and the White Buffalo Club. Some have made a switch to metal, hay and paper straws and bamboo stir sticks. Others only provide straws when customers ask for them.
Jackson restaurants that are reducing plastic waste receive door stickers from SFJH celebrating their commitment to environmental sustainability.
Due to its natural beauty and location in the Rocky Mountains, Jackson Hole is a major tourist destination. Deardorff wants visitors to be impressed by the community’s commitment to zero waste and promote similar initiatives in their hometowns. “Hopefully, someone notices when they go back to where they live, and they’ll think twice about plastic,” she said in the interview.