British food chain Wagamama is celebrating Earth Day 2018 by ending their use of plastic straws! The Asian restaurant chain is planning to substitute these small plastic pollutants with fully biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternatives.

The chain has already stopped giving straws to customers unless they expressly request them, the Guardian reports. From Earth Day on, the new eco-friendly version of the straw will still be available on request only.

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Jane Holbrook, Wagamama’s chief executive, said that she was “personally passionate” about establishing a sustainable relationship between the environment and the brand. “At Wagamama, we are constantly looking to make improvements,” she said, “and reducing the amount of non-recyclable waste we produce is one example of our kaizen (good change) philosophy in action.”

The decision was welcomed by environmental activists, although some campaigners questioned whether the restaurant was making a serious enough move. “Wagamama’s deserves genuine credit for banning straws,” John Read, the founder of Clean Up Britain, told the Guardian. “However, in the wider scheme of things, it’s a modest move in comparison to Iceland’s (the grocery chain) bold and ground-breaking decision to remove own-brand plastic packaging by 2023.”

It should be emphasized that Wagamama’s decision to get rid of plastic straws from all its restaurants is still great news and an important step when it comes to plastic pollution management.

In the reality where around 8.8 million tons of plastic a year end up in the oceans, each and every move towards curbing this overflow of practically non-biodegradable waste is not only greatly welcome but simply necessary for us to move forward in the matter of protecting our planet. Moreover, the step is bound to generate more attention around the issue of plastic pollution and what we can do about it – since it is made by a prominent and popular brand.

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To learn how you can help the environment by ditching single-use plastics, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: travelstar/Flickr