Straws are a modern convenience that act as the middle man between drink and mouth, but one London community is looking to cut out the middle man entirely.
The Straw Wars initiative in London’s SOHO neighborhood encourages area bars, restaurants and clubs to stop providing straws, unless customers specifically request one. So far, 34 restaurants have pledged to the program.
The reason for the push to ban plastic straws, according to the Straw Wars website, is because they are difficult to recycle, meaning billions of the tubular devices wind up in landfills each year.
Plastic straws are generally plastic #2 or plastic #5, both recyclable materials. But since they are almost never labeled as such and are usually present in restaurants with limited recycling options in place, straws are rarely recycled.
“Because billions of straws are discarded every year, filtering into landfill and littering the oceans,” the website says. “This is extremely detrimental to the environment, as plastics can’t biodegrade, they last indefinitely – breaking down into smaller pieces, feeding into the food chain and potentially ending up on our dinner plates. Not ideal.”
The group behind the campaign contends that cutting back on offering straws will dramatically reduce the disposal of one-time-use plastics. Straw Wars calculates that 3.5 million drinks are sold at McDonald’s each day, giving potential for 3.5 million straws to find their way to garbage cans every single day.
“Such a simple action will not only save on overheads, it will have incredibly positive and far reaching effects on our planet,” Straw Wars says on its website.