It’s time for change.

Single-use plastic is a particularly nasty material. Items made from it have a shockingly short lifespan, normally used once and then discarded. Think about it, you use your straw for a few minutes sipping your cocktail or putting it in a can. There’s no other way to say it: plastic straws suck. They take over 200 years to decompose – and when they do the tiny plastic micro particles end up everywhere, from our drinking water to the deepest depths of the ocean. We must do something. We may only be on this planet a small time but together we can really make a change. For ourselves and for future generations we will never meet. Please bare in mind this is a war against plastic straws, not straws themselves as there are many reasons and benefits of them.

The well known issues surrounding single-use plastic were highlighted by David Attenborough’s latest offering Blue Planet II, which showed alarming footage of plastic pervading the marine environment with one episode showing an albatross attempt to feed plastic to its young and a baby pilot whale apparently dead from consuming plastic-contaminated milk from its mother. Since the discoveries by Blue Planet there has been a call for a tax to be placed on single-use plastic. With over eight million tones of plastic entering the marine environment every year, supporters of the tax hope that it would have the same effect on the environment as the 5p levy on plastic bags, which saw the amount of plastic bags issued fall by 61 percent.

Currently this is only a discussion, but it recognises the significance of the problem and the urgent need for change. According to The National Geographic the amount of plastic in the ocean could outweigh fish by 2050. Companies and the public must make dramatic cuts to the quantity of plastic being used to avoid these devastating effects. If enough people say no to plastic straws, businesses both small and large will stop serving them. That would be great news for the ocean, and all marine life from tiny sea crabs to great whales and even the quality of our own drinking water would improve, we would all benefit.

The average bar will use anywhere between 1 and 4 plastic straws per drink. Moreover, some bartenders will even try a drink twice before shaking it, and then once again after, before then placing two straws in the glass just prior to serving. If that bar makes 250 cocktails in one evening (which is not a lot), the result is that around 500-1000 single-use straws are used in just one night. Straws which, after around 20 minutes of use, are then thrown away. The most positive part is that thanks to current innovative advancements in technology, there are affordable environmentally friendly alternatives, so we don’t even have to sacrifice the luxuries we are used too. Straws can be made from all sorts of materials such as bamboo, paper, silicone, glass, metal and even plants which can be purchased and then disposed of without the same devastation that is being caused by single-use plastic.

HERE’S HOW TO HELP

Joining this campaign is both simple and easy, and your help will actively encourage others to ditch the straw and help cut down plastic waste in our city. We only have one planet, it’s time to stand up and be counted. So, should you enjoy a tipple or two from time to time and happen to wander into a bar or pub who uses plastic straws, simply tell them that you’d like to use an alternative. And if they cannot offer one, inform them of this campaign. Together we can make a real difference in our city, and hope that others take notice across the UK and beyond.

In addition to this, you can share this article far and wide and encourage others to do so too. The more people seeing this message and hearing about the campaign, the higher the impact we can have. Use #thefinalstraw on social media to show your support.

THE CAMPAIGN – REFUSE THE STRAW

Those independent restaurants, bars and pubs looking to ditch the straw who would like advice on alternatives can get in touch with us at: [email protected].

We shall provide a list of those participating in our initiative from the outset and update you regularly on our progress as we try to encourage as many independent bars, pubs and restaurants as possible in our city to use alternatives to plastic straws. We will also be working closely with local businesses, such as Sugar and Lime, to encourage and educate more people on the straw alternatives. 

Thanks to Poppy Backshall for help with this article and thanks to you for helping us with this campaign.