Why #MarchAgainstStraws and Refuse a Plastic Straw
Every day, 500 million plastic straws are used in the US alone. That number represents enough straws to wrap around the Earth 2.5 times. These straws take more than 200 years to decompose and are rarely recyclable. Plastic straws have become an epidemic that is littering our oceans, streets, forests, and natural lands. Every year, our excessive use of plastic straws contributes to the death of over one million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals. (This research was compiled by the campaign #onelessstraw created by the nonprofit One More Generation.)
Communities and organizations around the world have begun initiatives to address this problem. For example, nonprofits organizations, activist groups, ethical businesses, and individuals are coordinating beach cleanups. In addition, entire cities are enacting laws against restaurants distributing plastic straws unless requested. Some current cities include: Malibu, San Luis Obispo, David, Seattle, and Fort Myers. These initiatives have a worldwide impact.
Through Green Foresters, I decided to motivate people to join the movement with #MarchAgainstStraws. This campaign challenged people to go without using a plastic straw throughout the month of March. People from all over the world participated. This push helped people implement the practice of refusing straws into their lifestyle. My hope is to encourage people to make refusing plastic straws a habit for life.
Refusing straws is a simple action with a huge impact.
I urge you to implement this practice too! It is so simple. When going to a bar, restaurant, smoothie shop, or anywhere you would be issued a straw, simply ask, “Can I have a ______ please, with no straw?” You will find that people are usually receptive and most people even love to ask about the movement. If you enjoy drinking out of a straw, choose a reusable option and carry it with you. Reusable straws made from a variety of materials are available including stainless steel, bamboo, glass, and silicone. My personal favorite is stainless steel. I find that drinking from stainless steel makes everything a little more refreshing.
(Source of facts: https://get-green-now.com/environmental-impact-plastic-straws/)
Malibu Bans Plastic Straws
During the February 26, 2018 meeting, the Malibu City Council voted to prohibit the sale, distribution, and use of single-use plastic straws and cutlery within the City of Malibu.
“Malibu is a leader in environmental protections, and we’ve made great progress in addressing plastic pollution, including bans on plastic bags, plastic sandbags, and polystyrene foam,” Mayor Rick Mullen said. “We are now adding plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery to the list of plastic pollution that we will stop at the source so it doesn’t reach our beaches and the open ocean. The ocean, beaches, and natural surroundings are a central part of life in Malibu, and we are absolutely committed to keeping them clean for ourselves, our children, and their children in the future.”
This legislation goes into effect on June 1, 2018. Learn more at: malibucity.org
Malibu’s Sustainable Straw Giveaways
Stop by Malibu City Hall during office hours to pick up #KeepitCleanMalibu branded reusable steel straws to use instead of plastic straws. Post photos on social media using the hashtags #MalibuForAStrawlessOcean and #KeepitCleanMalibu.
The City of Malibu will also provide a box of environmentally safe #KeepitCleanMalibu paper straws to area restaurants.
Straw Reduction Initiatives Worldwide
The challenges are gaining momentum! A number of municipalities, governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals are taking on the challenge to find alternatives to single-use plastic straws. You can take the #SurfriderPledge or commit to using less plastic at: onelessstraw.org. Another trending hashtags include #refusethestraw. Campaigns from the organization @5gyres and the initiatives from @oceanfriendlyrestaurants are also gaining traction. It’s even gone mainstream. Bacardi, the world’s largest spirit company, is one example. They have implemented an in-house program that involves removing plastic straws and stirrers at company events. As we talk about these programs more often, here’s hoping other companies look for their own alternatives!