Some have been critical of recent worldwide efforts to eliminate plastic straws. They say plastic straws are so small. How does eliminating them really have any significant environmental impact?
For Founding Farmers, and across all of our restaurants, ditching the plastic straw has become a collaborative mission with close to 150 restaurants, NGOs, and government leaders across the DC area. The launch of our campaign – Our Last Straw – is one critical, and necessary, step to reducing plastic waste in our city and across the planet.
“It all begins with awareness,” says Co-Owner Dan Simons and Founder of Our Last Straw. “If we can encourage people to make a more informed and environmentally-friendly choice about something as small and simple as a plastic straw, we are one step closer to thinking about, and hopefully understanding, the importance of other choices we make every day, like saying no to disposable plastic water bottles and cutlery, nixing the top on our to-go cups, or better yet getting a sturdy, re-usable thermal cup, and banning plastic bags. I like to think of straws as a gateway. Once we raise awareness about the importance of eliminating plastic straws, we start looking for other ways to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics throughout our daily lives.”
In our restaurants, by switching to biodegradable paper straws and launching Our Last Straw, our environmental impact is fourfold:
- In one year alone, Founding Farmers has eliminated over 340,000 plastic straws from DC’s trash stream.
- We are educating our guests. Every time a guest asks for a straw, we have the opportunity to talk about straws, single-use plastics, the giant garbage patch in the ocean, and even how microplastics and the chemicals in plastics are making their way into our water supply, the food chain, and our bodies.
- We have built a coalition of restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and event venues across the DC metropolitan region, and beyond. As major distributors of straws, we hold the power to dramatically reduce plastic-straw pollution by saying NO to what has become a nationwide custom: the automatic plastic straw in your drink, even in your water glass.
- We are building a collaborative foundation of industry leaders, NGOs, and government agencies. These are the local and national building blocks for future change, all in an effort to partner with other global initiatives to influence everyone in our communities to curb our reliance on single-use plastics.
Skipping or switching the plastic straw may seem like a small and simple choice. It is. But is has a big mission and carries the capacity for major environmental impact for our city, our planet, and all of its creatures.