Residents and businesses alike are joining the Lonely Whale Foundation to help stem ocean pollution by giving up plastic straws for the month.
Plastic straws are everywhere. It’s as if humans have forgotten how to raise a drink to their lips and tip the head back to take a sip. Sure, some people may require the assistance of a straw, but get this: In the U.S. alone, we use 500 million plastic straws daily. It’s absurd. And tragic, actually, as much of that ends up in the ocean, polluting our waters and devastating marine life.
In fact, at current rates of pollution, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish by 2050. By some estimates, plastic will be found in 99 percent of seabirds by the same year.
We’ve been seeing campaigns here and there to move away from plastic straws; and now the whole city of Seattle is hopping on the no-straws bandwagon – thanks to an initiative launched by actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier’s nonprofit organization Lonely Whale Foundation. (And since this is Seattle, they were unable to escape the shadow of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan; naturally, the campaign is called “Strawless in Seattle.”)
The first campaign of its kind, it is the culmination of the Foundation’s Strawless Ocean global initiative, which aims to remove 500 million plastic straws from the U.S. waste stream in 2017. And it seems like most of Seattle is on board. In addition to the commitment from more than 100 restaurants, the following businesses have made pledges.
- Seattle Seahawks: CenturyLink Field will eliminate plastic straws for all future events at the Stadium and Event Center starting with the Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers game on Sept. 17.
- Seattle Mariners: Seattle’s MLB team is going plastic straw free for all 15 home games at Safeco Field during the month of September. Grenier will throw the first pitch at the Sept. 1 game against the Oakland Athletics.
- Seattle Aquarium: On Sept. 7, the Seattle Aquarium will host a press conference to announce the Lonely Whale Foundation’s month-long Strawless in Seattle campaign. Keynote speakers will address the importance to #StopSucking on plastic straws to save the world’s oceans and marine life.
- Sea-Tac Airport: More than 20 restaurants at Sea-Tac Airport and other Port of Seattle facilities, including Sea-Tac USO, will eliminate plastic straws to support Strawless in Seattle.
- Tom Douglas: Each of Tom Douglas’ restaurants, concessions and food businesses in Seattle are offering paper straws “on demand” for customers who request a straw.
“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,” says Grenier. “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.”
“We are super passionate about the health of our ocean and protecting the health of our fish and fishermen,” adds Tom Douglas, Seattle chef and restaurateur. “To see the mountains of plastic accumulate in the ocean have really forced us to realize that somehow it’s got to stop now, so why not with us?”
And why stop there? You don't have to live in Seattle to say no to straws. Though you may not have the catchy campaign title, be strawless in your city! And every time you feel the unusual sensation of the rim of a glass on your lips (or use a paper straw), think of one less straw in the ocean wreaking havoc on the life of a hapless sea creature. You can join the #stopsucking challenge here.
See more at the Lonely Whale Foundation