JD Wetherspoon, a pub chain across the UK and Ireland, is making plastic straws disappear from its locales in an effort to minimize the amount of plastic waste filling our planet’s landfills and oceans. Straws are now no longer automatically put in drinks ordered at the chain’s bars and they will be replaced altogether by environmentally friendly alternatives at the beginning of next year.
The chain’s announcement was part of the Refuse the Straw campaign which aims to stop restaurants and pubs handing out plastic straws automatically. According to The Independent, Wetherspoons is going to start using only biodegradable paper straws in January 2018, which move is expected to stop 70 million plastic straws from entering landfills and the oceans.
Earlier this year, a similar decision to stop handing out plastic straws was made by such chains as All Bar One, Oakman Inns, and the Liberation Group. This move has been gaining popularity with a number of businesses, big and small, making steps in the direction of a smaller plastic waste footprint.
Plastic straws, 500 million of which are used every day in the U.S. alone, can take up to 500 years to decompose. Once accumulated in the oceans, they not only create an enormous amount of pollution but also directly harm and kill wildlife – a fact brought to many people’s attention because of a viral video showing a straw stuck in a sea turtle’s nose.
The Plastic Pollution Coalition, which supports the Refuse the Straw campaign, hopes that big moves such as the one made by Wetherspoons will help change habits of clients and reduce the environmental impact of plastic straws. Thanks to chains and restaurants changing their approach to plastic, it is customers that are also encouraged to re-examine their choices and rethink whether their habits are really worth the price that the planet has to pay at large for our small conveniences.
To learn more about how to minimize the amount of plastic you use in your everyday life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
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