SUDBURY -- A Sudbury environmental group is getting a big injection of funds from the province to help with efforts to reduce single-use plastics in the city.

This $75K from the Ontario Trillium Foundation will continue to support the organizations work with local businesses in the food and dining sector to reduce single use plastic.

There are currently 19 restaurants and cafes in Sudbury that have taken a pledge that challenges them  to reduce or eliminate at least three or more single-use plastics from their businesses.

“Three things can be really easy, stir sticks and cutlery, most people don’t really need cutlery when they’re taking out to their house. These are really small easy things. Anything along the lines of single-use plastic,” said Michaela Penwarden-Watson, of Plastic-Free Greater Sudbury.

The group says based on the population of Sudbury, it has a goal to get 30 businesses to take the pledge by September of this year.

“By the end of this we’re going to be able to capture how much is really being taken out of rotation,” says Penwarden-Watson.

The first business to jump on board the campaign was Salute Coffee Company, in 2018.

“Switching out our plastic cutlery for bamboo was a change that we made, “ said co-owner Tania Renelli.  “Offering a discount for people who are bringing their own mug or cup. Where we could choose paper bags instead of plastic, we did. Where we could choose a paper sandwich container instead of plastic, we did. I think it was difficult to say no, it’s a really inspiring initiative." 

Local MPP’s Jamie West and France Gélinas congratulated Plastic-Free Greater Sudbury on behalf of the Ontario Trillium Foundation for these continuous efforts to change the hospitality industry for the better.

“It’s the simple things that organizations can get involved with, restaurants, cafes and it’s things that the community wants them to do right,” said West, Sudbury’s MPP. “Just signing up and then getting rid of straws getting rid of plastic stir sticks. It’s all little bits that come out of the landfill but it’s those little steps that help us move towards having a much cleaner environment."

Founders of Plastic-Free Greater Sudbury say one restaurant that took part in the pledge says it was able to reduce a 150,000 pieces of plastic in one year.