The United States uses enough straws every day to wrap around the Earth’s circumference 2.5 times (source). That’s 328.7 million feet. According to the Ocean Conservancy, volunteers for the International al Coastline Cleanup have collected nine million straws and stirrers from beaches and waterway over the past 30 years. Cathi Lehn, Sustainable Cleveland Manager of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, decided to join forces with Ocean Conservancy to bring the Skip the Straw Campaign a little closer to home.
“Lake Erie supplies the water we drink. No matter where you live, your life depends on water. Year after year, trash enters our waterways, choking economies, harming wildlife and impacting the health of humans and communities.” – Sustainable Cleveland Skip the Straw Campaign
The Great Lakes make up the largest body of fresh water on Earth (source). We are lucky to have Lake Erie right in our own backyard. It is our responsibility to protect it and keep it clean. A few local restaurants agree and have taken the initiative in skipping the straw:
- Sam McNulty, owner of Market Garden Brewery, is a kayaker of the Cuyahoga River and sees firsthand the impact of single use plastics.
- Melt Bar and Grilled announced their involvement with the Skip the Straw campaign in their June newsletter.
- Panini’s on Coventry is also involved with the movement, but they aren’t stopping at the straw. Tim Swan informed me of their switch to LED lighting and their “Fireup Program” that allows them to conserve energy by starting up different equipment throughout the day rather than all at once. “It’s been an uphill battle, being part of a chain,” Swan said, but you can hear through his passion it’s a battle he’s willing to fight.
- Other restaurants big on skipping the straw are Saucy Brew Works, Spice Kitchen and Bar which has switched over to hay straws, and Taco Tontos which uses paper straws.
Skipping the Straw has become a global phenomenon. Starting July 1, Seattle, Washington banned the use of plastic straws (source). Following suit, coffee chain Starbucks, originating in Seattle, vowed to phase out plastic straws by 2020 (source). Even McDonald’s is on board, working on phasing out plastic straws in the UK (source). Even the Queen of England has banned plastic straws on Royal Estates (source).
The trend to ditch the plastic straw continues to grow. You can join the movement too by just requesting NO STRAW when you dine out.
Learn more about plastic that can be recycled in Cuayhoga County at www.CuyahogaRecycles.org
About the Author
Claire Bruch is an intern in the summer of 2018. She is spending her time working with the City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Coastal Management, Ohio Sea Grant and Upcycle Parts Shop.