Suck the Straws Out: A New Campaign for the US and Beyond
Suck the Straws Out is an educational campaign to decrease the use of plastic straws. We encourage bars, restaurants, businesses, and other establishments to only serve straws upon request, and to offer an eco-friendly or reusable alternative in such instances.
Suck the Straws Out began in Boulder, Colorado in 2016 as Suck the Straws out of Boulder. The City of Boulder uses about 175,000 plastic straws every day. In the United States, we use 500 million every single day - enough to encircle the earth 2.5 times. Many of these straws end up in the environment and in our ocean, where they can cause widespread pollution and be fatal to marine life. Plastic straws are one of the top 10 most common trash items found on beaches worldwide.
500 MILLION PLASTIC STRAWS ARE USED EVERY DAY IN THE US—ENOUGH TO ENCIRCLE THE EARTH 2.5 TIMES
Our collaborative movement took off when like-minded individuals found strength in numbers.
Many of us, including the Colorado Ocean Coalition, have been following national movements and encouraging the reduction of plastic pollution both locally and nationally. This campaign localizes the movement by targeting individual towns, cities, and states. Our Suck the Straws Out campaign can be modified to include any town, city, or state – for instance, Suck the Straws Out of Boulder, or Suck the Straws Out of Connecticut.
The idea of the campaign came to light when Toula Georgakopoulos, the owner of Taco Junky, a hip restaurant on The Hill in Boulder, Colorado, stumbled upon a video showing the harm that plastic straws can do to marine life. She thought about how her restaurant might take a small step, which would have big consequences. On August 1st, 2016, Taco Junky went straw-free and through Toula’s outreach attracted partners in the community who were also addressing plastic pollution, including the Colorado Ocean Coalition, Shared Paths, and Verde Azul.
The groups collaborated to create a campaign to eliminate single use plastic straws in the city limits of Boulder. The campaign targets restaurants, coffee shops, small businesses, and the community at large.
Since going straw free, Taco Junky has saved 13,000 straws on average per month from entering the waste stream. Change moves outward in ripples, and Suck the Straws Out seeks to bring the empowering message that one small change for every business has a great impact on our waters and the life they support - from our local rivers and streams all the way to the sea.
We are encouraging all restaurants to make the pledge to only serve straws upon request, and to offer paper or reusable alternatives upon request. We invite other cities and states to modify the literature we have provided and to join the campaign. Please see the Take the Pledge and Download Campaign Materials sections further down the page.
Our first target city was Boulder, Colorado, and we’ve since expanded the campaign to include other cities in Colorado, including Denver and Salida, as well as Connecticut. We encourage all states and countries around the world to get involved!
General Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado Contact: Christine Evans
Connecticut Contact: Nancy Rebold and Pam LaRocca
- The next time you're at a restaurant, simply say, "No straw, please."
- If you want to use a straw, bring a reusable one with you.
- Encourage your favorite restaurants to join the movement.
- Spread the word to your friends and family.
- Make a commitment to stop offering plastic straws in your restaurant. If people ask for a straw, offer a paper or reusable alternative.
- Take the Pledge.
- Use the materials provided in the campaign packet to promote the movement at your restaurant.
- Encourage other restaurants in your area to join!