GPH promotes Use Of Para Grass Straws

The  has adopted an innovative way for customers to enjoy their drinks. Remember the school holidays at the village when you drank young coconut (Bu) juice using para grass (Brachiaria
01 Nov 2018 13:36
GPH promotes Use Of Para Grass Straws
Grand Pacific Hotel staff (From left) Kasalaini Sokovagane, Atunaisa Viriviri and Jane Macomberwith the para grass straw used at the hotel on October 29, 2018. Photo: WATI TALEBULA

The  has adopted an innovative way for customers to enjoy their drinks.

Remember the school holidays at the village when you drank young coconut (Bu) juice using para grass (Brachiaria mutica) as straws?

Well, the GPH is using para grass straws too for its customers.

This comes at a time when countries around the world have started banning the use of plastic straws.

Vanuatu officially became the first nation in the world to legally ban the use of plastic straw in July this year.

GPH general-manager Peter Gee said it was an important environmental initiative and hotels in Fiji should start using para grass straws.

“At GPH we are conscious not only of the negative impact of single use plastics, but of the role we can play within both our industry and community in demonstrating what can be done to reduce our impact on the environment,” Mr Gee said.

“An issue that is particularly important and relevant in Fiji.

“An analysis of our consumption of single use plastics revealed that in 2017 we used nearly 40,000 drinking straws, so this was identified as a priority issue.

“We initially trialed paper straws, but the range that was available from local suppliers were limited and the results unsatisfactory as they quickly become soggy and users did not particularly like them.

“We find that para grass straws are an excellent alternative and guests reaction have been positive, though we do keep a small supply of the compostable straws as an alternative if required.

“We also believe that there is great potential for the production and supply of para grass straws to become a small cottage industry that will provide broader benefits than just the clear environmental advantages.”

He said he was surprised that everyone in Fiji knew about para grass straws, but no one used them.

“It is quite interesting that everybody in Fiji knows we can use para grass straw but no one is actually growing it,” Mr Gee said.

“Since we could not find it in the market we asked a supplier if he could go to some of the villages and see if we can get some of  para grass straws because it grows everywhere. He regularly brings his supplies.

“We did a lot of experimenting and we have been using it for a year now. A lot of people are banning the use of plastic straws and there are not many alternatives. Clearly we want to stop using plastic straws.

“At GPH we use para grass straw and paper. When people started telling me about how they used para grass when they were kids I was excited. Everyone in Fiji knows this, but no one is doing this except, I will give full credit to Baka Blue Café because they told me they were using bamboo.

“I thought this didn’t make sense so I drove down there to have a look and now I understand. I think everybody should do this.

“At GPH we have a social responsibility we take strongly. Our responsibility is to try and use more local food stuff and we have been going a lot of that.

“When I first got here maybe 70 per cent of the food we were using was imported and 30 per cent was local and it is the other way around.

“This is just one small initiative, but this is one of the things we are proud of because it is simple. It works and people find it interesting and I hope that other people start doing the same in this world.

“Let’s start using it here and who knows where it might go to,” Mr Gee said..

Edited by Percy Kean




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