WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University Dining & Catering is transitioning away from plastic straws and will switch to paper straws in the university's residential and retail outlets. The paper straws will be sourced from Fort Wayne-based Aardvark Straws. 

The switch from plastic to paper straws will be complete on March 18. This will include all retail outlets, including residential On-The-Go locations in the dining courts and Marriott Hall.

Dining & Catering officials estimate 650,000 plastic straws were used in campus dining and retail locations last year.

“The transition to paper straws represents our commitment to sustainability and follows trends we are seeing worldwide,” said Tom Coleman, director of retail dining, in a news release. “Replacing plastic straws with paper reduces environmental risk with a biodegradable product. The local impact of this transition will help reduce unnecessary waste on campus.”

Representatives said Aardvark paper straws were chosen because they use only FDA-compliant, food-grade materials, and are marine degradable and compostable.  Aardvark straws take 45 to 60 days to fully decompose, and six months or fewer in marine environments.

West Lafayette’s city council recently voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that would urge commercial and educational establishments to reduce the use of plastic straws and prevent plastic straws from being distributed at city facilities. Purdue is supporting the initiative with this change.