Cal Poly Campus Dining to Switch to Compostable Paper Straws

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Campus Dining is making the switch to paper straws beginning with the 2018-19 academic year, taking another step toward the university’s zero waste goal.

The move away from plastic straws to a more recyclable alternative supports Cal Poly’s commitment to sustainability as the university works toward diverting 80 percent of its consumer waste away from landfills by 2020.

“Feeding the campus community has the potential to create a lot of waste, yet we continue to reduce our footprint through programs we have put in place and changes we have made,” Campus Dining Assistant Director Russell Monteath said. “We are constantly looking for ways to reduce our footprint as we move toward zero waste.”

Cal Poly plans to partner with San Luis Paper, a local paper supply company. Because the straws are made of paper, they are fully compostable and decompose within 30 to 60 days.

Currently students, faculty, staff and visitors use close to 1 million straws per year. Although plastic straws are a small portion of overall plastic pollution, they are high on the list of most common objects collected during beach cleanups and in the ocean, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Campus Dining’s adoption of paper straws follows a nationwide trend of companies and city governments moving to recyclable alternatives, including Santa Barbara, which has banned plastic straws, and San Luis Obispo, which made plastic straws available only by request.

Photo of a hand holding a bunch of paper straws.

About Cal Poly
Founded in 1901 and part of the renowned California State University system since 1960, Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive polytechnic public university located in San Luis Obispo, California. Known for its Learn by Doing approach, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty, Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community whose 22,000 academically motivated students enjoy an unrivaled hands-on educational experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives.

About Cal Poly Corporation
Cal Poly Corporation is the nonprofit auxiliary organization to Cal Poly, providing self-supporting, innovative, and high-quality services to the university and assisting the institution in achieving its educational mission. For additional information, visit  or call 805-756-1451.

Contact: Aaron Lambert

Sept. 10, 2018

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