In August, we cheered on the city of Seattle for banning single-use plastic straws in its city limits. Plastic straws are not just unnecessary, but they contribute to climate change and can badly harm ocean life. With more than 500 million plastic straws used in the United States daily, Seattle represents only a drop in the bucket. But it’s the first drop in a bucket we hope to see filled to the top.
The ban will go into effect next year, but that hasn’t stopped enthusiastic Seattle residents and business owners from pledging not to use plastic straws during the month of September. The plan was lead by the Lonely Whale Foundation in an attempt to slow down the rate of ocean pollution by giving up plastic straws for the month.
The campaign, called “Strawless in Seattle,” was an enormous success. It got more than 150 local partners to stop using plastic straws and other utensils and instead move to marine-degradable alternatives. Countless others opted simply to abandon plastic straws and utensils all together. It shows how eager Seattle’s residents and businesses are to do the right thing by the environment.
The results were absolutely impressive. According to the Lonely Whale Foundation, an estimated 2 million plastic straws were completely eliminated from the city thanks to the campaign. The number of straws eliminated will be much larger when the ban goes fully into effect. When you measure it out (the average straw weighs in the neighborhood of three quarters of a gram) that’s over 1 ton of plastic waste removed from circulation.
The Lonely Whale Foundation is so stoked by their success that they want to bring their campaign to other cities. The organization recently announced 19 potential cities for its 2018 Strawless Ocean Tour. These cities include some in the United States, like Atlanta, Chicago, and Portland, as well as some in other countries, like Toronto, Canada, Dublin, Ireland, and Berlin, Germany.
The Foundation wants you to weigh in on where they’re taking their campaign. They’ve put it up to a vote, and the 10 cities with the most votes will be included in their 2018 campaign. If you want to cast a vote, you can do so here. Learn more about Strawless in Seattle by visiting their website.