Campaign Overview

The Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island Chapter encourages all local businesses, particularly restaurants and food retailers, from providing plastic straws to customers and instead only allowing paper straws or re-usable straws, upon request.

Environmental Impact of Plastic Straws

-Plastic by-products do not degrade naturally, but break up into infinitely smaller pieces, which get ingested by sea life
-Plastic contains toxins which travel up the food chain and end up on our plates
-Plastic straws fill ocean gyres
-Plastic straws kill marine life and other organisms

Did you know approximately 500,000,000 single use plastic drinking straws are used and discarded every day? That is enough straws to fill 46,400 large school buses per year! This totals out to around 12 million pounds of plastic waste over a year and they are not recyclable. These petroleum plastics are designed to last forever and many of these straws break down into what’s known as micro-plastics and pollute our drinking water, sea salt and seafood.

Straws are often littered, or caught by the wind, and washed into storm drains that empty into streams and other waterways, ultimately ending up in our ocean and on our beaches.  Plastic straws rank in the top 10 for marine debris.  44% of all seabird species and 22% of cetaceans have ingested plastic.

Plastic straws are difficult or impossible to recycle and even biodegradable plastic straws are often discarded in landfills and do not biodegrade when littered in a marine environment or if they are not in the right industrial environment.

What We Are Doing

Reaching out to restaurants and bars
– Asking them to eliminate using plastic straws
– Asking them to only provide paper straws on request or offer reusable glass or metal straws
– Encouraging friendly competition to get other businesses to join in

Expanding awareness and creating positive change
– Order your drinks without a straw
– Purchase your own reusable straw available in metal, glass and bamboo
– Help to share this campaign, encourage your favorite businesses to contact us on our website, Facebook page or email, for resources on how to best go strawless and switch to paper on demand
– Join our Facebook pages Rise Above Plastics and SFVI to get more info and share our stories

What to do with the plastics straws now? We don’t want them ending up in the landfills!
Businesses can ask their wholesalers for a credit
Donate for craft projects to your local school, church, daycares

Let’s end the consumption of single use plastic, starting with straws, this will lead to other products like utensils, stir sticks and plastic bottles.