GO has teamed up with local green champion Farmbound Zero Waste and global environmental crusader Lonely Whale to challenge the Okanagan Valley to #StopSucking and go strawless!
We're on a mission to find local businesses that have gone straw-free and/or offer sustainable alternatives, so we can celebrate them! While at the same time, challenging those businesses who haven't to #StopSucking and go straw-free!
Help us celebrate local businesses that have Gone Strawless!
Visit our list of local businesses who've Gone Strawless and pop-in to enjoy a straw-free drink. You can also help by letting us know about other local sustainable sips, so they can be added to our list and get a Gone Strawless badge of honour on their door or window.
Are you a local business looking for help to go straw-free? We want to hear from you, contact us.
Find out about the plastic pollution problem and how you can be a part of the solution below!
What is this all about?
We want to help the Okanagan ditch their single-use plastic habit, for good. Single-use plastics are harmful to the environment at every step of their lifecycle and, as in the case of straws, are often used for a short period of time before being discarded. Taking them out of the picture will have a big impact on the health of our community and planet.
Plastic straws are bad for the oceans, waterways, and ecosystems of our planet. We use approximately 57 million every day in Canada, and many of those end up in our waterways, polluting the water and killing animals. We want to encourage people to stop using plastic straws for good.
If we don’t act now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Aren't plastic straws recyclable?
Most plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. They drop through sorting screens and mix with other materials and are too small to separate, contaminating recycling loads or getting disposed of as garbage.
How do plastic straws get into waterways?
Plastic straws end up in waterways primarily through human error, often 1) left on beaches in coastal communities and seaside resorts globally 2) littered OR 3) blown out of trash cans, transport boats, and vehicles which are often overfilled.
While some city's waste management infrastructure is sound, not all communities have the same level of accountability.
Remember, all gutters and storm drains lead to our oceans!
What happens after they're in the waterways?
An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate. What would our oceans and waterways be without marine life?
(Source: Communication with Chris Wilcox, CSIRO, primary and contributing author to both studies cited)
What’s equally as bad, perhaps even worse is that when plastic does make it into the waterways it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces known as “microplastics” rather than biodegrading or dissolving, which poses great threats to marine life including fish.
What if people need straws, are there alternatives?
We recommend businesses provide an alternative for those who need straws to fulfill our shared need to drink liquids.
There are many alternatives, such as reusable metal or glass straws, bamboo straws, or compostable straws that are marine biodegradable.
What about compostable plastic straws?
While compostable plastic straws are good in theory, they can be disposed of incorrectly by individuals when there is a lack of public composting facilities, such as in the Okanagan.
Compostable plastic straws are no better than regular plastic straws when they get into the marine environment. They are designed to break down in compost facility conditions, not water. That is why we support the switch to paper straws, not compostable plastic straws.
Why focus on plastic straws?
We already know that plastic bags and soda can rings are bad for the environment and end up in our waterways. Few people realize that straws are among the top 10 items found during beach cleanups and can do so much harm to birds, turtles, and other marine creatures.
As an item of convenience for the vast majority of us, we believe refusing the single-use plastic straw is the easiest and simplest way for everyone to take action today to address plastic pollution. If we all take the pledge to refuse single-use plastic straws we will see a significant decrease in the number of straws found during coastal cleanups.
How can I get involved?
Accept and challenge someone else to #StopSucking as part of our viral social media challenge! Take it one step further and get your favorite bar, restaurant, or coffee shop to #StopSucking, reach out to us for help.
At the very least say “No PLASTIC straw, please!” Get in the habit of asking for no straw before you even order a beverage. And be ready to tell your server why.
Where can I get alternatives?
Learn about alternatives For A Strawless Ocean here!