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Seattle Encourages Its Residents To 'Stop Sucking' In September

Over 500 million plastic straws are being used every day in the United States, and much of it is for convenience rather than need. When being served at restaurants, normally straws are an unnecessary need in our water and soda. Some places are removing plastic straws entirely, replacing them with reusable metal or paper alternatives. Seattle is chiming in by getting rid of plastic straws for the month of September.

As an initiative launched by the Lonely Whale Foundation, over 100 restaurants and organizations are going to be partaking in the campaign called “Strawless in Seattle.” Beginning immediately on September 1st, residents will be seeing the removal of plastic straws. The campaign is being promoted on social media with the “#StopSucking” hashtag.

Adrian Grenier, an actor (HBO’s Entourage) and environmentalist that runs the foundation, will be throwing the first pitch before a Seattle Mariners’ baseball game on Friday against the Oakland Athletics. All 15 home games will not have any plastic straws available. The following Thursday, the foundation will be speaking at the Seattle Aquarium to raise awareness on the campaign.

Many restaurants at the Sea-Tac Airport will be eliminating plastic straws for the entire month. All restaurants under the Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen umbrella will offer paper straws as an alternative, and they would be on demand. Another sports organization, the Seattle Seahawks, will be eliminating plastic straws for all home games this season, with the opener on September 17th against the San Francisco 49ers.

“We are living during a critical turning point for our ocean, and that’s why I’m excited to celebrate the city of Seattle as a true ocean health leader,” Grenier told Tree Hugger. “Alongside Lonely Whale Foundation, Seattle’s citywide commitment demonstrates our collective strength to create measurable impact and address the global ocean plastic pollution crisis. We are starting in Seattle with the plastic straw and see no limits if we combine forces to solve this global issue.”

Plastics are extremely convenient, but it’s imperative that we reduce our usage of them. Something like eliminating plastic straws, especially when there are alternatives, is an easy option that we can control. By restaurants not putting them immediately in drinks, there would be many that wouldn’t even notice the difference. Anybody that still wants a straw can make a request.

Consider what plastic waste is doing to our oceans and wildlife. According to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), “90 percent of individual seabirds have eaten plastic” and that number could shoot up to 99 percent by 2050. Prior to the 1960s, which was before plastics became a very popular trend, only five percent of plastics were inside of seabirds.

Some places in California have already started limiting plastic straws, such as Berkeley and Alameda. It’s a better solution than simply banning straws altogether, as some people prefer the convenience of them. However, it’s important to encourage people to find an alternative, and Seattle is making an awesome start.

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