April 28, 2011
By Linda Busche
Milo Cress is on a crusade to halt the standard restaurant procedure of automatically providing straws when serving soft drinks.
"Five hundred million straws are used everyday," the Vermont fourth-grader said in one of two media interviews he granted on a recent day. "We could make a difference if restaurants asked if you wanted a straw instead of just giving you one. I would like that to be the normal way."
Cress is focused on the green impact, but it's not been lost on others that foregoing free straws would pare restaurants' costs.??Too young to secure a website domain on his own, Cress worked with his mother to set up BeStrawFree.org, where he urges consumers and restaurateurs to pledge support for his cause. Participating restaurateurs agree to ask patrons whether they want straws. Consumers are encouraged to forego straws or bring a reusable one with them for a one-month stretch.??Milo says it's too early to quantify how many restaurants and consumers have joined his campaign. But he says he's received positive feedback.??His mother, O'dale, laughs when asked if the project is distracting Milo from his schoolwork. The classroom and homework are among his joys, she explains, and he's become adept at multi-tasking because of his many and widely divergent interests, like playing violin. ??Schoolmates have been supportive, not only pledging to use fewer disposable straws but also voicing their appreciation. "Some of them have said they were proud of me," Cress says. "I say thanks."
The money you save on operating costs (through energy efficiency) adds to what you get to keep, so saving 20% on energy operating costs can increase your profit as much as 33%.
Find out green trends and more in the 2011 Restaurant Industry Forecast. Learn more