by Lois Hillier
In recent months the world’s woken up to the issue of plastic. The UK was moved by BBC’s Documentary Blue Planet 2, where it came to light that our oceans are in desperate need for us to take plastic pollution seriously. The overwhelming response to acknowledging our behaviour and bad ways has pushed us forward to begin cleaning up our mess and to start to make a better future for our world. The Government has even announced plans to eliminate all plastic waste in Britain within 25 years.
One of the notorious single-use plastics that have devastated our seas and caused outrageous consequences is the plastic straw. A massive 2 billion straws are thrown away in London each year alone! Our heart-strings were pulled when a turtle with a plastic straw up his nose went viral. It’s time to start doing something about it. See the video here
The food industry has taken a massive turn in tackling this issue:
1. Not serving straws with drinks. Many places will now only add a straw to your beverage if you ask for one. Although this is not eliminating the problem itself, hopefully companies are using this as a stand-in until they figure out a better solution to be rid of the plastic straw.
2. Bio-degradable straws. Many restaurants answer to the issue. Made from materials such as grass pulp, these straws are 100% bio-degradable. BUT I wonder if a lot of people know these need to be disposed of correctly. They must be composted and not just put in the general waste.
3. Paper straws. Places such as JD Wetherspoon have introduced to paper straw in 900 of their pubs. It certainly is a great alternative to eliminate plastic straws but cannot work for everyone. They do have a habit of becoming soggy quickly and would not be usable for such drinks as a thick milkshake.
Here are a few companies that have pledged to getting rid of the plastic straw:
1. JD Wetherspoon who hand out 70 million straws a year have introduced paper straws in 900 pubs
2. Las Iguanas – Only offer straws if customers want one, with the vision to ban plastics straws from their restaurants altogether
3. Oakman Inns – Plan to eradicate all plastic straws from their pubs by April 2018. Realising they go through over 100,000 plastic straws a month; they have taken a stand. I hope others follow suit!
4. All Bar One who give out around 4.7 million straws a year; plan to reduce the usage by one-third.
5. Restaurant chain Bill’s who use around 4.6 million straws a year have introduced bio-degradable straws as an alternative to plastic.
Others taking action: Wagamama, Caesars Entertainment UK, Pizza Express, North-link, Glasgow City Council, Two Ferry Company, MEATliquor, Pret A Manger and many more…
This is only a small snippet of the larger picture on plastic pollution, it goes far and wide into many areas such as plastic bags, take away waste, packaging, clothing and so on. There’s a huge challenge ahead, but if the large co-corporations and councils jump on board and start making the important changes needed; we should all be able to follow suit.
It’s time to take a stand on plastic waste.
Information provided from The Evening Standard and BBC News as of 29/01/18
Image source: BBC, Las Iguanas