Two things happened last weekend, which really brought plastic straw waste to the forefront of my mind. The first was that my sister and brother-in-law were here on holiday so we went for a drink one lunch time, and dinner out the following evening. On both occasions I was presented with my drink sporting the unwanted addition of a plastic straw, without having asked for one. Sadly, even after the first time, I didn’t think to say ‘no straw’ – but really, in today’s day and times, is this still where we’re at?
The second point is that I walk on a daily basis, and over the last week I have walked at Rozel Bay and Green Island – and on both occasions found plastic straws washed up on our beaches.
It is standard practice in restaurants and bars for there to be a pot of straws at the bar – either you’ll be served one or you can help yourself. But isn’t it time to stop and think about straws a little more? The finite resources (petroleum and gas) that they are made from, not to mention the resources used in manufacture, labour, transportation and sales of these pollutants, is so disproportionate to the actual length of time they are used, before casually being thrown away. Although technically recycleable, they seldom are in the U.K., and it’s not possible in Jersey – they end up in the furnace, releasing toxins into the air we breathe.
In the week that saw Greenpeace release a harrowing video of a sea turtle having a straw extracted from it’s nose (here – https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/final-straw-20170310/) and the news that soon there will be more plastic than fish in the sea – saying ‘no straw’ is a tiny step we can take individually, but a huge step for the environment.
It’s impossible to ignore the amount of plastic waste in our oceans – and on our tiny drop in the ocean, we should be even more attuned to the effectors of plastic on our marine ecology.
There are occasions when people need to use straws, I understand that, but for most people its just a habit. You could pass on the straw, but if you are really a huge fan of them and can’t do without – what about these reusable options?
Today is the first of July, the first day of #PlasticFreeJuly – a challenge to refuse single-use plastic for one whole month. This morning I also signed up to an associated pledge being run by The Story of Stuff – https://action.storyofstuff.org/sign/plasticfree/. I pledged to avoid single use plastic, to re-use or recycle the plastic that I do use, to educate others about plastic waste, and to take Citizen Muscle actions to make plastic a thing of the past.
Citizen Muscles – I like the sound of that! I am heaving my citizen muscles and have chosen today, the first day of #PlasticFreeJuly, to launch a local Straws Suck! campaign here in Jersey. I am writing to every pub, restaurant, bar, club, hotel etc I can think of. I’m writing to ask them to consider the environmental impact of the straws they offer, and I’ll ask them to put them out of sight, and only issue straws when specifically asked. I’ll ask them to consider purchasing paper alternatives next time around. I’ll ask them to display the poster above, to explain why they don’t have straws on open offer, and to help remind people about plastic pollution.
But I need your help!
Could you say “No straw, thanks” at the bar? If you have little ones who use a straw could you consider investing in a life-long reusable one? Could you help spread the message?
Straws Suck! Don’t be a sucker!
BLOG UPDATE! 08/07/2017 – STEEL STRAW GIVEAWAY! A lovely lady who follows the blog (and wishes to remain anonymous) has kindly gifted us 2 packs of steel straws, to use in a giveaway to promote the Straws suck! campaign. The Klean Kanteen steel straws feature a safe, food-grade silicone flex tip and come with a brush to make them easy to clean. Added bonus iOS that there is no plastic in their packaging! There are four in a pack, wide enough even for smoothies – and each tip is coloured differently. (See them here *). Please visit The Good Jersey Life facebook page on how to enter to win one of these packs!
*Please note – I have not been able to source these straws locally as yet. This link is to an amazon associates page and if you purchase through the link the blog may receive a small commission)