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Me To Restaurants: “No Straws Please”

August 13, 2018 Environment, Featured No Comments
The set of 8 wide stainless steel straws we bought online.

In March 2016 I planned to order stainless steel straws for when my husband and I go out for shakes, see Reducing Use of Plastic Disposable Straws Good for the Environment.Unfortunately, I didn’t get them ordered until very recently. We now have four in our car, four at home.

Recent straw bans prompted me to finally order reusable straws.

Several countries, in the name of combating plastic pollution in the ocean, have begun banning various plastic products: utensils, bottles, and bags that often get thrown away after one use. In the United States, these efforts have centered on the plastic straw.

On July 26, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would eliminate single-use plastic straws and stirrers in all its locations by mid-2019 as part of its “journey of environmental stewardship.” Disney also plans to reduce other plastic products in its hotels and cruise ships as well as plastic shopping bags and styrofoam cups.

Starbucks made a similar announcement earlier this month, saying it would transition to a new lid for cold drinks that many have likened to an “adult sippy cup.”

The company has said it will introduce these lids in Seattle and Vancouver this fall, and continue with the rollout in the US and Canada next year, with the goal of taking them global. Eventually, this will mean eliminating more than 1 billion plastic straws per year.

Seattle, the home of the mega coffee company, became the first major US city with a plastic straw ban on July 1. New York City has proposed legislation to ban plastic straws in the city by 2020. Malibu and San Luis Obispo, California, and Miami Beach and Fort Myers, Florida, have similar efforts in the works.

There’s also a trending hashtag, #StopSucking. Chelsea Clinton, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Russell Crowe, Tom Brady, Sonam Kapoor, and Tom Felton have all pledged to “just say no” when handed a plastic straw. (VOX)

Why straw bans all of a sudden?

When reality-TV star Kim Kardashian West told her 115 million Instagram followers that her household had stopped using plastic straws, the head of an environmental nonprofit responded in disbelief.

“I thought, ‘Did we culture-hack this?’ ” said Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale, whose #StopSucking social-media campaign advocates banning single-use plastic straws. “Did we change the conversation around straws?”

This is the summer of the plastic-straw ban. Bans on straws have swept through U.S. cities, businesses, restaurants and even sports venues at a surprising speed. In recent months, officials in cities including New York, San Francisco, Miami Beach, Fla., Santa Barbara, Calif., and Portland, Ore., have either proposed or passed bans on single-use plastic straws. Last month, Seattle became the first major U.S. city to put a ban into effect. (Wall Street Journal)

The above article goes on to talk about how going up straws gives some “moral licensing”, they’ve done their part so they can do other things that are bad for the environment. I personally am always trying to reduce waste. reduce using plastics. reusing things as many times as possible. My indoor compost bin was a failure, but my kitchen scrap stock has been great. My homemade laundry detergent works great, but dishwasher detergent not so much — switched to Costco pods earlier this year. In the 30+ years since I moved out of my parent’s house I’ve bought maybe 1-2 rolls of paper towels. Not 1-2 rolls per year, 1-2 rolls in 3 decades!

I want to do more — consume less. I want to make sure I’m sending evrything to recycling that I can. I want to make sure I’m sending stuff to recycling in a way it’ll get provided — not rejected and sent to a landfill.

At restaurants I’m thinking I need to bring our own cloth napkins. I rarely eat out at places that use plastic flatware, but bringing my own flatware wouldn’t be that difficult. Reducing items we consume…consumes an increasing amount of my brain’s time. Saturday night we wet out to eat and I remembered to tell the person who took our drink order “no straws.” I have to get ahead off them because once it comes to the table it is waste whether I use it or not.

My hope is local restaurants will cease bringing water to the table with a straw before giving me the chance to tell them we don’t need straws.

— Steve Patterson

 

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