Noooo, not again!! I did not ask for this straw. I ordered an orange juice, not an “orange juice with a straw“. Why can’t I just have juice when I ask for juice?
It happened because I was distracted. The kids were bickering about where to sit, we were trying to get an answer out of them about what they wanted to eat and drink, and while this was happening our drink order was taken. I thought we had successfully evaded any disposables with our meal until it landed in front of me. I had forgotten to refuse the straw. Straws are not recyclable in my area because of their shape and size so these are going in my waste jar.
Why do we keep getting straws that we don’t ask for? Are we getting them because consumers demand it? Once I refused a straw, but when my drink arrived another waiter ran to me and plonked one in, thinking it had been forgotten.
Apart from medical reasons, I’m not even sure I why we use them. My lips and swallowing action work fine, and my thirst is quenched just the same. What could possibly be wrong with us that requires us to use and discard of billions of disposable plastic straws daily around the world (a study found 500 million are discarded daily in the US alone*)? It seems to me that straws should be something you ask for if you need it, not something you need to refuse. All that refusing is hard work when your on vacation or trying to celebrate with a night out. I went out for a hens party and had to convince a barman that I didn’t need two straws per drink!
Why do I refuse disposable straws, including paper ones?
- I cannot think of a time when I have really needed a straw. Making them is simply a waste of resources. Whilst paper straws biodegrade, they still use up significant resources in their production.
- Plastic straws make up the top 10% of rubbish collected from beaches and other Clean Up Australia day events.
- Plastic straws, like other plastic pollution is harmful to wildlife through ingestion or entanglement. Scientists are also starting to learn more about the dramatic impacts of plastic entering the food chain.
Can’t live without a straw? Use a glass, bamboo, or stainless steel one.
I picked up some glass and stainless steel straws a while ago but the steel ones came in plastic packaging which was annoying. Our glass straws are wider so they are good for thicker drinks. We also have a cute little cleaning brush for them.
Can’t find reusable straws in your local shops? Find them here. Make sure you have a little look around the page to find the straw(s) you want and a cleaning brush.
Manage a café /bar, and want to help? Do these things:
- Put straws under the counter out of view and only provide them on request.
- Consider providing paper or reusable straws when a straw is requested.
- Display a sign explaining that you do not give straws for environmental reasons.
- Get all staff on board and explain to them why straws are removed – I think you will find them supportive as most of the staff I have spoken to in cafes are dismayed by the amount of single-use waste leaving their premises.
- Stay in touch with Gippsland Unwrapped. Upload a photo to Facebook or Instagram with a short blurb on what you are doing to receive a free share. Make sure you tag me so I can see it and use the hashtags #thelaststraw #thelaststrawgippsland
- Keep in touch with The Last Straw. The Last Straw is a campaign to reduce the use of plastic straws in venues around Australia.
Your business will benefit by saving money, attracting new customers, and increasing existing customer loyalty.
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