Kopitiam says straw situation could have been handled better

The sign telling KFC customers to stop taking straws from Bagus and Kopitiam foodcourts at Greenridge Shopping Centre went up last week. It has since been taken down. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ RED NIRA NIRA

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - A notice telling KFC customers to stop taking straws from the foodcourts at Greenridge Shopping Centre in Bukit Panjang has drawn criticism after it was shared on Facebook.

The KFC outlet is across from the Bagus and Kopitiam foodcourts, both of which are managed by Kopitiam.

The notice was put up at the Bagus foodcourt about a week ago but has since been taken down.

It said the Bagus and Kopitiam foodcourts "are not KFC's straws supplier".

This comes less than three months after KFC announced they would no longer be providing plastic straws here as part of its No Straws Initiative.

In response to queries from The New Paper, a Kopitiam spokesman said: "While our operations team tried to take the initiative to alleviate the ground situation, we acknowledge that the situation could have been handled more diplomatically. Kopitiam is supportive of the 'No Straw' movement and will review the feasibility of partaking in this meaningful initiative."

TNP observed on Tuesday (Sept 4) that straws at the drinks stall in the foodcourts are now kept behind the counter.

When asked, a staff member said: "If a person doesn't buy a drink, why would they need a straw? Why should we give it to them then?"

In a reply to TNP, a KFC spokesman said customers are still able to get straws from it.

"We'd like to reiterate that straws are still available to our guests upon request," she said.

"We hope more food and beverage establishments could join us on board this initiative to go green."

When KFC announced its No Straws Initiative in June, it claimed the move would save an estimated 17.9 tonnes of single-use plastics a year.

Founder of eco-movement The Sustainability Project Joline Tang said consumers need a transition period.

"I support the initiative, but businesses need to consider the impact not just on the environment but on people and other businesses," she said.

"People should first be given alternatives, such as paper straws," she continued, adding that the rationale for the move also had to be explained. "Initiatives need to come with awareness and education."

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