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The Last Plastic Straw

- By Huma Hashmi, Staff Writer -

The Last Plastic Straw is a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition.

By some estimates, Americans throw away 500 million plastic straws a day. In only the past twenty years, people have come to expect plastic straws in every drink, in an example of extreme waste being generated for minimal convenience. Straws and other plastics cause harm to marine life in many ways. Birds, fish and other sea life consume plastics accidentally or when they mistake it for food. Plastics don’t biodegrade. They break down into finer microscopic pieces. After the first use, these tools are usually discarded without further thought, becoming a part of the plastic pollution problem. The Last Plastic Straw movement seeks to activate citizens through a grassroots campaign to encourage individuals to push for change in restaurant protocol and practices in their local communities around the world.

This movement begins with the consumer, and as a consumer, take a stand and say no to plastic straws! Request no plastic straw at restaurants, and try to convince others to do so as well. If this seems hard, let’s maybe do it on #SkiptheStraw Day this Friday, Feb. 23.  With approaches from students, local coffee shop, Lucky Tree is currently participating in this challenge.

If this doesn’t seem like enough in the face of the gargantuan plastic monster, there are even more things that we can do. Make a personal commitment to say “no” to plastic straws. Whenever ordering a drink, politely request “no straw, please.” Encourage your friends and family to take the pledge, too! If you want to take your impact even further, use your own paper, glass, bamboo, or stainless steel straw instead, and start a conversation. Try to reach out to some local eateries in your neighborhood or town and ask them to change their protocol to only serve straws upon request. Encourage those same eateries to make a change to non-plastic straw options – like paper, glass, or stainless steel – if diners do request a straw. A good option would be advocating for Aardvark straws, FDA food grade paper straws, to restaurants. Another suggestion is to host a screening of STRAWS the film in your community, which Meredith has already done at the documentary film festival in January.

Consider how you can help reduce plastic waste from straws today!


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