Wagamama: “Straws Suck” Restaurant Chain Announces Big Changes

Published on April 19, 2019

Big news from the restaurant chain with the name that is just fun to say: Wagamama.

The Asian fusion company eloquently declared that “straws suck,” and announced starting on Earth Day, it’s going to be the latest business to ditch plastic straws.

All Wagamama locations in the United States will only give out biodegradable paper straws for its juice drinks. All other beverages will be served sans straws.

Wagamama straw-free interior.
Why the change? 

Wagamama says it’s making the switch because of the devastating impact plastic trash has on the environment.

The restaurant chain’s biodegradable place mats note one shocking statistic: “It can take up to 200 years for a single plastic straw to decompose. Did that catch your attention? It did ours.”

The company pointed to the whale that washed up last month in the Philippines with 88 pounds of plastic waste in its body.

U.S Fish and Wildlife Service photo, bird that ingested plastic garbage (from humans).

And it’s not just fish, sea mammals and birds ending up with plastic in their digestive systems. You could unknowingly be eating it too. A study by Science Advances estimated as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches, many will end up as small pieces in the fish we eat. Sounds appetizing huh?

Many experts agree, dumping our dependency on plastic is critical. The Plastic Pollution Coalition says over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States.

Who else is ditching plastic straws? 

What other well known food chains are discontinuing plastic straws? Starbucks announced its coffee shops are phasing them out.

Last year I contacted McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s asking if they’ll be doing away with plastic straws, none responded.

Sandwich giant Subway did respond, and said: “We are in discussions with suppliers about paper straws and other options to either reduce disposable packaging or make it recyclable or compostable. We have always had a “self-serve” process for straws so guests only take a straw if they need a straw.”

But so far in the Subway restaurants that I’ve seen, the sandwich giant still gives out plastic. Did they not see that bird pic above?

Some of these fast food giants are experimenting with or rolling out biodegradable straws in the UK, and in other countries, due to pressure from lawmakers.

And speaking of lawmakers, here in the US, California passed legislation saying restaurants can’t give out plastic straws unless a customer specifically asks for one.

In the meantime Wagamama says it has a message for you all: #SkipTheStraw and Happy Earth Day!

Want more enviro news from Grit Daily? Check out “The New Six Pack.”

"Watchdog" Mary Schwager is a Columnist at Grit Daily. She is a television and print journalist watch-dogging for consumers and animals. She is honored to have won 16 Emmy awards, seven Edward R. Murrow awards, and Associated Press awards for investigative reporting and writing.

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