(Hola! founder Peter Lowes)
The local Hola group of restaurants is taking an environmental, stand with the announcement that it will be switching to biodegradable compostable straws in each of its Central Oregon locations.
The popular Mexican-Peruvian cuisine chain is championing the fight against the use of plastic straws, as environmental activists estimate some 500 million such items are used every day in the U.S., contributing to an increasing ecological toll, particularly on marine life ingesting the man-made material.
Hola founder Peter Lowes said the business wanted to take a lead as an ally for the anti-plastic movement. He said, “It is something we feel passionately about and feel we can no longer avoid addressing.
“It has become a global issue, and straws are on the leading edge.”Although straws represent a small portion of the 8 million metric tons of plastic that ends up in the ocean every year, Lowes believes plastic straws are an easy way to get people started on reducing their plastic use.
He added, “Just getting people to turn down a straw is a gateway to a more sustainable lifestyle. “It’s a simple step that anybody can take to address the global plastic problem. You use a straw for ten minutes, and it never goes away.”
A growing number of cities in the U.S. are banning plastic straws, and many restaurants are striving to find ways to adapt, including pasta straws or even exploring utilizing materials such as Pyrex, bamboo or metal, even though that may represent an increase in operating expenses. As the tide shifts against plastic straws, and in the absence of more affordable alternatives, plastic manufacturers have stepped up an industry-wide effort to promote recycling options and the need to come up with realistic recycling programs.
As for plastic recycling, the human track record so far is lamentable. Of the 6.9 billion tons of plastic waste ever created, almost 80 percent of it has ended up in landfills or the environment.
Lowes added, “With the increasing problem of plastic pollution, and the consequent detrimental effect particularly on marine life, we feel like we can play a part in taking a relatively small action that can make a big difference.”
The popular Hola! Concept just opened its sixth location, at the former Kokanee Café in Camp Sherman outside Sisters, which joins fellow restaurants in Bend, Redmond and Sunriver.
Hola!, with its renowned blend of Mexican and Peruvian dishes with a Nuevo Latino twist, has won numerous awards including Best Latin Dining and Best Margaritas in Bend, which it landed the last four years in a row, and enjoys a strong following.