Even when thrown away, plastic straws often end up on beaches and shorelines where they can be mistaken as food by sea life and are a general blight on the beach. In 2014, 7,525 straws/stirrers were collected in New Jersey during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. For the past five years, plastic straws have consistently been in the top five types of trash collected during Clean Ocean Action’s bi-annual Beach Sweeps. But you can help stop this! Consider these options:
- When you place a drink order at a restaurant, ask your server to leave the straws at the bar. “I would like water with lemon and no straw, please.” If people you are with questions your request use it as an opportunity to educate others on why plastic straws, and other single use plastics, are harmful. We can do without them.
- Get a glass or stainless steel straw and bring it with you. They are pretty. And reusable!
- Ask your favorite local restaurant to implement a “Straws on Request” policy. Think about how many straws you will prevent from ending up on the beach!
If you are a restaurant owner:
- Provide straws only upon request. Many people will use a straw if provided and won’t mind if it’s not. By instructing your staff to provide straws only upon request from the patron, you will make them available only for those who actually want them.
- For customers who do request a straw, provide one that is plastic-free. Alternatives such as paper straws are inexpensive and compostable, making them preferred for your business and the environment. Glass and stainless steel straws are another option too.
Want to become more involved, sign your restaurant on for the Plastic Straws Suck pledge, or get more information? Contact the Surfrider Foundation, South Jersey Chapter’s Secretary Yvette at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need a reusable straw? The Surfrider Foundation, South Jersey Chapter is giving away one stainless steel straw per person at all tabling events. Want more than one? Additional reusable straws can be purchased for only $2. They are awesome – they come with their own pipe cleaner to make cleaning easy!