By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 22, 2018 at 7:10 PM Photography: Carolynn Buser

More and more local establishments are getting rid of plastic straws. In honor of Earth Day, here is a rerun of an article from 2017.

At the beginning of 2017, two Walker’s Point bar-restaurants discontinued providing straws for drink-ordering customers. Engine Company No. 3 and La Merenda, both owned by Peter and Sonia Sandroni, stopped using straws primarily for environmental reasons.

"It’s not about saving money, it’s about the environmental impact," says Sonia. "The plastic does not decompose."

Both establishments have a few straws on hand for people with disabilities who require them to drink. They also occasionally give them to children.

So far, the response has been "50/50."

"It’s been received very well by people who care about the environment, but we’ve certainly had some customers angered by this," says Sonia.

Both places have information on their tables and menus explaining why going straw-free is important to environmental health.

"But it’s like anything else in life: it’s about educating people so they understand why we are doing this."

No longer offering straws is only one of numerous efforts the Sandronis and their staff are practicing to promote eco and personal wellness.

"We compost everything that is compostable," says Sonia. "We use small wooden stir sticks instead of spoons to stir coffee; we don’t bring water to tables unless people ask for it, etc."

Both Engine Company No. 3 and La Merenda have a Wednesday night promotion / game called "In It To Win It." If an entire table of customers are willing to ditch their phones for the duration of their meal, they get to pick a small prize.

"People really love it and are coming in now just for this," says Sonia.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.