Ted’s Montana Grill is a restaurant chain co-founded by Ted Turner, best known for his pioneer efforts in cable television, chiefly Cable News Network (CNN). Since retiring from mass media, he has devoted himself to philanthropy, particularly environmental issues. One project involved buying up land around the migration paths of migratory herds such as the buffalo (American bison), and in the process Turner now owns the largest buffalo herd in the world.
What do you do with a large buffalo herd? You could try to buffalo people, or you could try to wean people away from beef (mostly derived from European and Asian stock) and towards the very American buffalo, which is a richer, leaner meat, and not as hard on the environment. These buffalo, in turn, could be used by restaurants, such as Ted’s Montana Grill.
Ted’s Montana Grill has an interest in sustainability that goes beyond buffalo: it extends to straws. One upon a time, in the previous century, straws were made of paper. Then someone had the bright idea that straws should be made of plastic, and that seemed to be the last straw for the paper straw market.
There are problems with plastic straws. Unlike their paper counterparts, you can’t easily and safely burn them. If you throw plastic straws out with the trash, the straws don’t break down, and last practically forever. Plastic straws are also a grave danger to wildlife, ranging from people (the plastic often has chemicals that cause cancer) to birds (which often try to eat the straws with bad consequences) to marine life (see problems with eating straws) to pretty much every living creature. Most zoos and aquariums ban plastic straws because of the danger they present to animals. Oddly, restaurants and movie theaters and other establishments do not ban plastic straws due to the dangers they present to humans.
But, you say, if paper straws no longer exist, and you don’t want to burn (or freeze) your lips when you sip, what can you do? For several years, Ted’s imported paper straws from Canada. Eventually, the market for paper straws revived, and Aardvark Straws came into being, manufacturing paper straws in the United States. Why it is named for an African anteater is not entirely clear, but that’s another story…
If you don’t happen to have a Ted’s nearby, Aardvark Straws are available through Amazon. Unlike hard drives, Amazon can probably deliver paper straws competently.
Trivia: Buffalo is a city. Buffalo is an animal. Buffalo is also a word. So a buffalo in Buffalo can bully a buffalo, or put simply: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. If this seems silly, keep in mind that the scientific name of the American buffalo is: bison bison.