The scale of environmental problems in the world today makes me wonder whether the bit that I do really does make a difference. Plastic, when it was invented, was hailed as a wonder-material; versatile, cheap and easily disposable. But its blessing has become a curse over the years. And this leads me to ask this question: ‘How many of us think about recycling plastic straws?’. To be honest, if they are, how many are actually recycled and don’t fall through the cracks in machinery with being so small?
With the recent discussions on plastic I’m all for getting involved and supporting the new Evening Standard campaign – The Last Straw – which promises to take action NOW and not wait for government intervention. Britain as a country is a big user of straws and in London alone is it reported that two billion straws are used every year.
They are used once, thrown away and contribute to the death of one million sea birds and 100,000 sea mammals a year. Do we really need a straw for our drinks? I don’t think so and I’m sure many of you will agree with me. Many London restaurants and bars have already done away with handing out straws including All Bar One, Jamie’s Italian, Wahaca and Wetherspoons. All Bar One announced they would be phasing the use of straws across their chain in June 2017. Wetherspoons are replacing them with degradable straws in 900 pubs. And countless more businesses within the service and hospitality industry are following suit.
It’s positive and most encouraging to see companies making a conscious decision to phase out the use of straws across their service businesses. They are not only leading the way but making a decisive difference to our own attitudes towards plastic waste and the impact it has on our planet and our wildlife. Seeing plastic washed up on our beaches and shores is shocking enough, but to see what damage it is doing to wildlife is heart breaking. Last year, the environmental group, Thames River Watch found 19 straws in just one square metre during its annual clean-up so the problem is a lot closer to home.
The Evening Standard’s campaign gives us all the opportunity to show we can make a difference to the future of our environment and I hope that this blog helps you decide to join the cause too. And if you’re still not convinced take a look at this video which kicked off the campaign.