The final straw?

Monica Davies, right, with, from left, Marcos Torres-Sidden, Vintner director, Becky Reynolds, founder of Rubbish Friends, Charlotte Thomas, manager of the Vintner, and Siat Vincent of Rubbish Friends. (V3/6/18/2296)

A WAVE of Stratford businesses have signed up to a new campaign aimed at ridding the town of single-use plastic drinking straws.

The Press Pause on Plastic Straws campaign was launched by Stratford environmental group Rubbish Friends with the aim of persuading local businesses to stop automatically offering plastic straws with drinks.

Since then a swathe of businesses have jumped on board and Rubbish Friends are hopeful even more will decide it is the last straw for the environmentally-damaging drinking tool. Campaigners are not calling for shops to drop plastic straws altogether, as some disabled people may require a plastic straw with a bend at the top, but simply to make them available on request.

In addition to approaching businesses, campaigners are trying to persuade customers to decline plastic straws if offered or abstain from requesting one. Although a plastic straw is only used for an average of ten minutes, each takes at least 200 years to decompose and an estimated 8.5billion are used every year in the UK. Marine animals are thought to be particularly badly affected by plastic straws with the World Economic Forum predicting that by 2050 there will be more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish.

Campaign organiser, Monica, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with how it’s going so far and we’re only a few days in. Approximately 18-20 businesses have signed already and we’re hoping the vast majority will jump on board as we continue going around.

“We’ve been visiting businesses in the town centre, showing them our campaign flyer. It’s a bit harder with some of the bigger chains, some already have policies in place for plastic straws, but I think overall a lot of businesses are becoming more aware of the problem and making the switch to paper straws.

“We want to create awareness that plastic straws are very difficult to recycle, they’re light and prone to getting blown away and they fall through recycling sorting machines. “We’ve only had a couple of businesses turn round and say they do not want to support the campaign, but I think for the vast majority that have, being able to display our poster (pictured right) in their window can only be a positive thing for them. I believe our campaign has the potential to go further than Stratford.”

Businesses which have signed up so far include Munchies, Bardia’s, The Golden Bee, Loxley’s Restaurant, Mida, Orangemabel, The Dirty Duck, The Encore, Café Rouge, Fizz and Fin, HR Coffee Bar, The Lamplighter, Havilands, The Old Thatch Tavern, The Opposition, The Vintner, Lambs, The One Elm, La Marina, Magic Alley, Connolly’s Deli Tapas Bar, Pizza Express, Veeno, Cafe Nero, Caffe Veneria, The Food Of Love, The Bear, Tiffin Takeaway and The West End.