Reducing and eventually eliminating one-time-use plastic straws from St. John and its gorgeous but fragile environment is the goal of a new local campaign called "No Straw, Please."
Unnecessary single-use plastic is detrimental to marine life as well as the local economy. Single-use drinking straws are among the most useless “one-touch then toss” items made from plastic, especially if they end up in the waters around Cruz Bay, Coral Bay and the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park.
“Each of us doing our part to say “No Straw, Please” is a small but essential way we can all individually start tackling the sheer volume of disposable plastic that plagues our island and the Territory,” said Working Group members of Plastic-Free Island: St. John.
The grassroots drive to help rid the island of nuisance straws is part of a broader effort being made by Plastic-Free Island: St. John to lower the amount of single-use plastic on island for the protection of people, coastal and ocean life. It’s also part of the effort to reduce single-use plastics from the waste stream as landfill space in the USVI becomes more scarce this decade.
Beginning Jan. 1 and continuing through year-end 2017, the group will encourage restaurants, bars, event planners and other beverage sellers to continue to reduce or phase out drinking straws altogether. By merely not automatically giving them away– and offering paper straws, if requested – local establishments can make a significant dent in this scourge during Centennial Transfer Day Year.
“In only the past twenty years, people have come to expect plastic straws in every drink, in an example of extreme waste being generated for minimal convenience,” according to The Last Plastic Straw, a Plastic Pollution Coalition initiative. “These short-lived tools are usually dropped into a garbage can with no further thought, instantly becoming a source of plastic pollution.”
Added PFI: STJ members: “Let’s turn back the tide on needless plastic items that were literally not here when the United States acquired our Virgin Islands back in 1917. Join us by taking the No Straw Pledge and reminding your server – 'No Straw, Please.' You can do without one.”