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Plastic straws are some of the most overlooked items when it comes to the issue of plastic waste. After all, they’re mostly flimsy, unassuming bits of plastic. Nonetheless, they are a big part of the problem – it is estimated that Americans use around 500 million plastic straws a day! Now, since each one of the straws typically gets thrown away after one use, it becomes very easy – and very unsettling, as well – to imagine the amount of discarded plastic straws that accumulate in the landfills even in just one week.

Fortunately, we are beginning to wake up to the gravity of this problem. Recently, three high-profile restaurants in San Diego have joined in the battle against straws. The “No Straws” pledge has been taken by Herringbone in La Jolla and two Searsuckers, in Del Mar and in the Gaslamp. The decision was announced by the restaurants’ owner, the Hakkasan Group, on May 22, 2017.

Plastic straws will no longer be given to the customers with their drinks as a default but only upon request. The three locales are the first in the Abu Dhabi-based company to adopt such policy.

“When you hear that number — 500 million — it kind of makes your head explode a little bit,” Rachael Giannecchini, director of restaurant marketing for the Hakkasan Group, told The San Diego Union-Tribune, referencing the number of plastic straws Americans use per day. She went on to emphasize that in the vast majority of cases, when the company explains to people why they are introducing the new policy and elucidate the environmental impact, the listeners turn out to be perfectly supportive of the decision.

Unfortunately, plastic straws are more than just an eyesore in a landfill, they also pose a serious threat to the world’s marine life. A recent video showing a sea turtle with a straw lodged up his nose illustrates the gruesome impact of these seemingly harmless items. In fact, that video alone inspired the owner of a UK pub chain to stop giving out straws, so these San Diego restaurants are in good company!

As consumers, we can all play a huge role in helping to reduce plastic’s impact. First and foremost, say no to straws in restaurants and share what you’ve learned about the impact of these items with your local retailers – you might find they too are receptive to similar action. To find more ways to eliminate plastic from your everyday life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.

Image source: George Hodan/publicdomainpictures