Oklahoma City bars and restaurants join growing movement against plastic straws

The Bunker Club and the Pump Bar announced Wednesday it will now serve paper straws upon request, instead of plastic ones. (Caroline Vandergriff/KOKH)

Oklahoma City businesses are joining the growing movement to reduce waste by getting rid of plastic straws.

Just this week, a handful of big companies like Starbucks, American Airlines, and Hyatt Hotels have announced plans to ban single-use plastic straws and replace them with more eco-friendly alternatives.

“It’s been happening slowly, all over the country, in different ways,” said Hailey McDermid, owner of the Bunker Club and the Pump Bar, two popular spots in the Uptown 23rd district.

The Bunker Club and the Pump Bar are switching from plastic straws to paper ones, and they’re only given out when customers ask.

“If you let them know why you’re doing it, then they’re generally pretty positive about it,” said general manager Joel Caram.

It’s part of a growing push to lessen the negative impact of plastic on the environment. The straws often cause devastating harm to sea creatures.

“We have these small, one-use plastics that go into the ocean,” McDermid said. “The marine life eat it, swallow it, confuse it for food.”

McDermid says the Pump Bar would typically go through 4-5,000 plastic straws in one busy weekend.

“If we can collectively start these small steps to initiate change, it’s good thing,” she said. “So we wanted to be a part of that.”

Several other metro restaurants have announced plans to get rid of plastic straws:

  • Tucker’s Onion Burgers
  • Iron Star Urban BBQ
  • Cheevers Café
  • Barrios
  • Power House
  • Kitchen No. 324