Venues are to call time on plastic drinking straws due to them being incredibly damaging to the environment.
Most straws are made from plastics like polypropylene and polystyrene which, unless recycled, can take centuries to decompose. This means that straws, along with other smaller plastic items such as plastic bottle tops and coffee cup lids, are damaging the environment by being dumped into the oceans and on landfill sites even though they may have only been used once.
Public awareness of the damage caused by plastic waste polluting the environment and killing wildlife has increased due to recent documentaries such as the Blue Planet II series.
Designer Vivien Westwood last year backed an online campaign – known as “Refuse the Straw” – for people to refuse the straw and instead start drinking from the glass.
Pub chain All Bar One used to serve the equivalent of 13,000 plastic straws a day across all their venues. However in June 2017 they led the way on eliminating plastic straws from their 52 outlets in the UK by pledging to phase out its use of plastic straws completely and replacing them with eco friendly alternatives where necessary.
J D Wetherspoons followed suit by announcing that with effect from January 2018 plastic straws would be replaced by biodegradable paper straws across its 900 pubs in the UK & Republic of Ireland.
Although the move to paper straws is a welcome one, Wetherspoon’s personnel and legal director Su Cacioppo said businesses would face “extra costs” for introducing them. Mark Hall, commercial director of BusinessWaste.co.uk took the concept one step further by suggesting that people should be expected to pay tax for their straws, similar to the 5p charged for carrier bags.