Want a straw at Sanford? Employees will have to ask

Oct. 10, 2019

Sanford Health has become the latest organization to cut back on plastic straws.

“I think there’s quite a movement everywhere … it’s kind of like straws on demand,” said Kris Denevan, executive director of facilities and support services.

“So we looked at the volume we were going through and felt like this was the right thing to do and it was time.”

The numbers were eye-opening, she said. Sanford’s Nutrition and Food Services was purchasing 465,000 straws annually for the Main Cafe at Sanford USD Medical Center and Dakota Food Court in the surgical tower.

So straws now are kept below the counter and available by request. If an employee requests a straw, they are encouraged to buy a reusable one from human resources or Sanford’s online store for $5.

People have been buying and bringing them, Denevan said.

“I think people who are aware had already jumped on Amazon and gotten a couple,” she said. “A lot of people were already on board and way ahead of us in this movement, but it was time for us to get on board.”

Straws will continue to be offered to patients or any guest who needs one for medical reasons.

Straws had not been stocked for employees previously at Sanford’s other Sioux Falls locations, including its corporate headquarters.

To further encourage a sustainable approach, Sanford is offering a 10 percent discount on coffee, tea or soda up to 24 ounces in exchange for skipping a disposable cup and using a reusable cup or mug.

“We have some signs up that just encourage people not to grab the Styrofoam and to bring their own, and a discount was a way to promote it,” Denevan said.

They’re also looking at options for more biodegradable food containers, she added.

“There’s an expectation to be more environmentally friendly, especially among the younger workforce. It’s not acceptable to disregard these things.”

Want a straw at Sanford? Employees will have to ask

Sanford Health has become the latest organization to cut back on plastic straws.

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