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Single Use Plastic Straws — What a Waste! 

By Larraine Roulston :

Over the years, our love of the drinking straw has grown through nostalgic images and our life-long habits. Today, there is a global movement … “The Last Straw — Literally!”

With a mission to reduce straws, The Last Plastic Straw is a volunteer community project for Save Our Shores coordinating with its Sanctuary Steward program. Its goal is to educate the public about the absurdly wasteful practice of single use plastics and their effect on our environment. The group asks people simply to request that their drinks not include a straw. It also invites restaurant and bar owners to join the movement by including “a straw is available upon request’’ note on menus as well as looking to purchase reusable or biodegradable ones. In Jackie Nunez’s, founder of the Last Plastic Straw, article “The Sipping Point,’’ she asks people to post their “Last Straw Moment.”img_5275-1

Another group, One More Generation, is urging citizens to take the “One Less Straw’’ pledge to avoid their use during October. Their passion focuses on saving the more than one million seabirds that die annually from ingesting plastic garbage, usually in the form of straws. With pledge buttons in hand and school involvement, they state, “We want students to get in the habit of saying ‘No’ to plastic straws for the entire month. Students will also have the opportunity to upload pictures of themselves and their families refusing a straw or even taking pictures of servers wearing our campaign buttons.”

In the popular oceanside town of Tofino on Vancouver Island, Michelle Hall spearheaded a “Straws Suck’’ campaign. She asked restaurant owners to stop routinely handing out straws and provide biodegradable options only upon request. “All but eight of 30 businesses have agreed to go straw-free. People in the town of 1,800 launch into conversations about reducing plastic waste when they notice the straws are gone,” she said. With positive feedback, there will be even more awareness when approximately 22,000 tourists and surfers visit daily during its high summer season. As with all global beach cleanups, straws are one of the top 10 pieces of trash being gathered, but for the Long Beach Lodge Resort in British Columbia, which has stopped its unnecessary and costly practice of using and discarding 12,000 straws each year.

From the business world resolution to be part of the solution, Bacardi Limited has initiated a “no-straw” movement as part of its “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future’’ environmental campaign. By making several of its venues straw-free, it hopes that within the global Bacardi infrastructure, the concept will follow suit. single-use-straw

To quote the UK’s Straw Wars, “By only providing plastic straws when requested, we can significantly reduce the disposal of single-use plastic. Such a simple action will not only save on overheads, [but] it will also have incredibly positive and far reaching effects on our planet.”

The issue reflects the sheer volume of 500 million disposable plastic straws being discarded every day in the United States. Plastic does not biodegrade; it only photo degrades from water, sand and sun, into smaller pieces, which in turn become ingested by marine and land animals to eventually enter our food chain.

Without a doubt, most of those living in nursing homes, the disabled, and many hospital patients require a straw. Alternatives for institutions and individuals are straws made from bamboo and corn starch. As well, check out Simply Straws, Aardvark, Mulled Mind, and Straw Straws made out of glass, paper, stainless steel and straw respectively. The way to stop plastic pollution is at the source.

Related Links:

Make straws suck less: Switch to these paper ones that help fund sea turtle research

Bacardi wants you to “hold the straw” with your next drink

It’s a drinking straw, made from straw. Introducing Straw Straws

Be Straw Free: Reduce Plastic Consumption | Xanterra Parks …

The Last Plastic Straw: Home

About Us – The Last Plastic Straw

Be Straw Free Frequently Asked Questions – Eco-Cycle

You Are What You Eat With: Why Saying Yes to Plastic Straws is a …

Plastic Straws: A Life Cycle (with Infographic) – Worldwatch Blogs

Larraine authors a children’s book series on composting and

pollinating at www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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One comment

  1. I will check out all of your links.
    I had a picnic breakfast at the beach yesterday, and right next to where I parked I found on the ground a plastic drink cup with a straw sticking out. With a sigh, I picked up the sticky thing and put it in a collecting bag I keep in the car.

    One day, I suddenly remembered that when I was a kid, we had paper straws. My mom was always after me because mine always seemed to get mushed up. She’d have to cut off the top so I could use the rest of the straw. I remember using up the entire thing to the point of haven’t to just drink it out of the paper cup, sans straw. Where did the paper straws go?

    And warning on the new replacement straws: Check out what the straw is made from. I’ve checked several sources, and so far there is a gluten element that helps the straw material stick together. So I can’t use them due to gluten allergy.

    But I can ask that no straw be provided. I can just sip my drink from the cup. And I can bend over and pick up one more straw that someone has thoughtlessly dropped on the ground.

    Thanks for the links!

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