Our Stories

Hay Isn't Just for Horses Anymore!

Join the Straw-volution! The conversation surrounding straw use is not a new one for us here at The Charcoal Group. Back in 2016, we learned that plastic straws were rapidly collecting in our main bodies of water and realized it was definitely time to take action! After all, the surface of planet earth is approximately 71% ocean! It was predicted that by the year 2050, there would be more plastic in the oceans than fish! This inspired The Charcoal Groups official mandate to only provide plastic straws on request. Though a small effort, considering that we were using 27,317 straws per week (1,420,500 per year!), we have been happy to make even that much of a difference. 

Fast forward to 2018, Megan Stover, our People Person here at CG Headquarters shared this graphic with our CEO, Jody Palubiski. Safe to say he was instantly swayed, as the motion to remove plastic straws from all of our concepts was immediate. Now, as we all know, some drinks (and guests), require straws! So in came the paper straws! A little bit better, but still not enough!

Now it’s the end of 2019, and we are pleased to be introducing Hay Straws: the latest single-use plastic straw alternative. Made entirely of wheat stems as a byproduct of wheat production, Hay Straws are low impact, 100% biodegradable, and don’t require any deforestation like their popular paper counterpart. Hay Straws are about as eco-friendly as it gets. Inspired by the 2019 Vancouver plastic ban, Once the wheat is harvested for other purposes, the best wheat stems are selected and cut to size, triple soaked and rinsed and sterilized. No chemicals, no preservatives, no plastic. Once they air-dry, they are packed into cardboard boxes! The closest thing to not using a straw at all, in our opinion!

So What's the Deal? Aside from being the single most eco-friendly straw solution available to-date, Hay Straws are:

  • Good for hot AND cold drinks
  • Never soggy
  • Bar friendly
  • All-natural
  • Compostable
  • Cheap

Rather than using a plastic straw that will end up in a landfill or worse - the ocean, or recycling a soggy (most likely dyed or bleached) paper straw, hay straws are 100% biodegradable!

But What About Gluten?

Yes, Hay Straws are made from wheat stems. NO, there is no gluten in them! Lucky for our gluten-free and celiac friends, Hay Straws have an LG rating of 8ppm, which is well under the limit of 20ppm to be classified as gluten-free!

Learn More!

This is neither the first or the last effort CG will be making to lessen our carbon footprint. Earlier this year, in light of the October Climate Strike and the vivacious words from Greta Thunberg, CG set out on a mission to give away 1000 White Spruce Seedlings from Pineneedle Farms!“Of course my kids asked, ‘what can we do’? to which I responded; Plant trees!” says Palubiski. “I want to lead by example for them, for our community, for our planet. We believe that it is important to do our part to help sustain the environment! Energy conservation is crucial to the development of every new dining venue.

From LED lighting to switch-operated industrial appliances to waste heat-collecting energy recovery systems and tree planting initiatives, The Charcoal Group feels that it is imperative to operate clean, safe and attractive restaurants that our city will be proud of while playing a part in the global fight against climate change.

Learn More About Hay Straws

Join The Charcoal group in the fight against climate change and use a Hay straw! 


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