Countylicious promotion extended to May 6

Countylicious. (Chad Ibbotson/Gazette file photo)

While food lovers will have more time to take advantage of the county’s spring celebration of local cuisine, participating restaurants will be striving help reduce plastic waste.

Spring Countylicious has been extended to May 6 in response to the less than spring-like weather. With Earth Day taking place April 22, the 11 participating restaurants pledged to do their part by reducing or eliminating the use of plastic straws. The move ties in with a global movement seeking to reduce plastic waste.

“It’s a no-brainer — fine dining and plastic straws just don’t go together,” Edward Schubert of The Merrill Inn says in a release.

East & Main Bistro’s Kimberly Humby says the move could help protect one of Prince Edward County’s biggest assets.

“The County’s beaches are one of our biggest draws, not only for tourists but for residents too,” she says. “We can keep them cleaner and safer for marine life by encouraging people to think twice before reaching for a plastic straw.”

The Last Plastic Straw is a movement to reduce single-use plastic and is a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition. The group estimates that as much as one billion plastic straws are used and discarded around the world each day. Many of those are destined to find their way into oceans and other bodies of water where they can affect marine life. Plastic straws are among the top 10 litter items collected during beach clean-ups according to the group.

Kirsty McCulloch of Straw Free Quinte + PEC says she recently gathered 62 plastic straws along the beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park. Those were collected in just one hour.

“Plastic drinking straws are not recyclable and for most people, are not a necessity,” she says. “Considering that there are compostable and reusable options available, this is an unacceptable and totally avoidable amount of plastic waste hitting our landfills and waterways.”

McCulloch and other groups encourage restaurants to either offer biodegradable straws — and only on demand — or eliminate straws completely to help combat the issue.

The participating restaurants are; Agrarian Bistro; Amelia’s Garden at The Waring House; East and Main Bistro; Hartleys Tavern; The Merrill Inn; Portabella; Pomodoro; Public House at Jackson’s Falls; The Drake Devonshire; The Mill PEC; and Waupoos Estates Winery.