The next target of an environmentalist group is in every fast-food restaurant in America, right next to the soda fountain: the (usually) paper-wrapped disposable plastic straw.
By itself, your classic drinking straw — 7 3/4 inches of very thin plastic — doesn’t look like much of a threat to the earth. But the ocean-advocacy Lonely Whale Foundation wants America to consider the consequences of the estimated 500 million disposable straws the country goes through each day. In April, a National Geographic story on the campaign’s early stirrings called them “one of the most ubiquitous unnecessary products on the planet.”
Because many of those end up floating among society’s other refuse in the ocean, they end up contributing to a growing pollution problem. On its website, the Lonely Whale Foundation says the plastics in the ocean will outweigh all the fish by 2050 at our current pace.
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Thus, the group wants us to give up the ubiquitous plastic-straw dispenser for other options, among them disposable-but-biodegradable paper straws, reusable metal ones and drinking materials with built-in straws. And, naturally, they’re going to Seattle in September to get traction for their campaign, which the foundation has hashtagged as #stopsucking.
Lonely Whale — co-founded by the actor Adrian Grenier, of “Entourage” — will be doing its awareness bit across the Emerald City for the month at various taverns, restaurants and other places where drinks are drunk. Safeco Field is in, per a Fast Company story, so buying a Coke at any of the month’s Mariners home games will get you involved.
Reggie Jackson, who once allegedly called himself “the straw that stirs the drink” of baseball, is not listed among the no-plastic-straws campaign’s collaborators. The website also doesn’t list a plan to bring its campaign to Tacoma, which was five years behind Seattle in cracking down on plastic shopping bags.