George McKerrow Jr., co-founder and chief executive of casual-dining restaurant chain Ted’s Montana Grill, recently signed a straw-free pledge that would require diners at his restaurants to ask for drinking straws instead of automatically being given one with their beverage orders.
McKerrow, a longtime proponent of sustainability and sustainable business practices at his restaurants, signed the Be Straw Free pledge Jan. 29, as a way of educating the public on how the use of plastic straws impacts the environment.
The campaign is the brainchild of 11-year-old Milo Cress, a Boulder, Colo., resident who started the campaign in 2011. He is encouraging restaurants and other businesses to adopt an offer-first policy, which would decrease the number of straws consumers use when they dine out at restaurants.
“This young man single-handedly is addressing an often overlooked environmental issue for restaurants – the vast amount of plastic straws that go into our landfills each day and the decades each straw then takes to biodegrade,” McKerrow said. “We support his goal to let plastic straws be an option for consumers, as they once were, not just an automatic addition to every beverage served. We applaud Milo for his vision and leadership. From young minds often come the very best ideas – ideas from which we can all learn.”
McKerrow and Ted’s Montana Grill are members of the National Restaurant Association and its Conserve Sustainability Education Program, which offers operators training in sustainable best practices they can deploy at their own restaurants.