Protecting Waukesha County's Natural Resourses since 1978
Representing the Waukesha County community for the protection of Waukesha County's natural resources through dedicated grass-roots participation and action.
ZERO WASTE WAUKESHA COUNTY
Zero Waste International Alliance Definition of Zero Waste (updated 2018)
The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production,
consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and
materials without burning them, and without discharges to land, water,
or air that threaten the environment or human health.
“Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and
visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to
emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are
designed to become resources for others to use.
Zero Waste means
designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid
and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve
and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.
Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are
a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”
WEAL Asks Members and Waukesha County Residents to “Skip the Straw”
a component of WEAL’s Goal Zero Waste: Waukesha County Initiative, WEAL
is asking our members, and the general public, to join a global
movement and “Skip the Straw.”
also asking establishments serving beverages in Waukesha County to enact
a “straw upon request” policy with a plan to transition to reusable or
biodegradable alternatives for customers who ask to have a straw.
straws may seem harmless but they contribute to the more than 150
metric tons of plastics in the world’s oceans. Reducing the amount of
discarded plastic is crucial because if nothing is done by 2050 the
oceans will have more plastics than fish.
Plastic straws are not
collected for recycling and eventually end up in landfills,
incinerators, along roadsides or in oceans, rivers, lakes and streams.
They are also one to the top ten items collected during coastal cleanups
according to the Ocean Conservancy.
straws do not biodegrade they photodegrade into microplastics which can
take more than 200 years. Microplastic fragments can be easily ingested
by fish, birds and other wildlife and ultimately enter the food chain.
are no precise figures on how many plastic straws are used each day in
the United States. Estimates range from 375 million to 500 million. To
put how many plastic straws are discarded every year in perspective,
Disney estimates 175 million plastic straws are used annually at their
properties and is switching to paper straws.
a smaller scale, the Modern Honolulu and the Hilton Waikoloa Village in
Hawaii tracked their plastic straw usage and found between the two
hotels 1.4 million plastic straws were used in 2017. Both hotels now
only offer paper straws upon request.
Plastic Straw Regulations and Bans in the US and Around the World
Straw initiatives or bans are being enacted, or considered, across the
globe. Island nations and coastal cities that are most impacted by
single-use plastic pollution are spearheading efforts to “skip the
straw.” Coastal communities understand plastic straws, and other
single-use plastic items threaten the environment and as litter they are
a deterrent for tourism.
The state of
California recently enacted legislation requiring dine-in restaurants to
only give straws when requested. Statewide plastic straw bans are being
considered in Hawaii, New Jersey and New York.
number of cities in the United States have banned plastic straws.
Seattle’s ban on plastic straws and utensils went into effect on July
1st. In California, Monterrey, Malibu and Berkley have recently
approved banning plastic straws. In Florida St. Petersburg, Miami Beach
and Fort Myers Florida have also approved plastic straw bans.
United Kingdom is proposing a ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and
cotton buds. Queen Elizabeth II has already banned plastic straws and
bottles from all royal estates. Scotland plans to ban plastic straws by
the end of 2019. Belize plans to phase out plastic straws, shopping
bags and plastic utensils by April, 2019 and Taiwan is planning to
eliminate the use of plastic straws, bags and utensils by 2030.
restaurants, bars, hotel chains, cruise lines, airlines and other
venues have decided to no longer offer plastic straws. Several sports
arenas, including the Milwaukee Bucks new stadium, have also decided not
to offer plastic straws.
What Can You Do?
yourself if you routinely use straws for beverages consumed at home, or
for beer or wine? If the answer is “no” why use a straw when you are
away from home?
reusable and biodegradable straws are the best options to replace
plastic, it is always preferable to Skip the Straw altogether and just
drink from a glass.
Not using a
plastic straw won’t eliminate plastic pollution and litter, but this
action raises awareness about environmental issues associated with
single-use plastic items and encourages people to think about their
impact on the environment. If you agree plastic straws contribute to
pollution and litter, and believe not using a plastic straw is a good
idea, WEAL is asking you to “skip the straw.”
When ordering a beverage, let your server know you do not wish to have a straw. Placing
a plastic straw in beverages has become a routine. If you receive a
straw when you asked not to have one, don’t get upset. Use the unwanted
straw as an opportunity to mention why you have decided to “skip the
WEAL believes the time is right for establishments
serving beverages to enact a “straw upon request policy” and give
customers a choice on whether or not to have one.
WEAL also supports phasing out plastic straws in favor of reusable or biodegradable straws.
Alternatives to Plastic Straws
are a number of alternatives to plastic straws. Good quality paper
straws are available, but will cost more than plastic straws. To keep
costs down for your favorite restaurants, just ask not to have a straw.
restaurants and bars across the country are offering reusable straws
made from bamboo, steel, glass or silicone. Creative alternatives like
pasta and reeds are also becoming popular, but keep in mind the most
environmentally beneficial option is no straw.
establishments must be sensitive to the needs of disabled customers and
not question why anyone is requesting a straw. In addition to having
biodegradable straws upon request, beverage serving venues can purchase a
small supply of reusable steel straws with silicone tips, or keep a few
packages of plastic straws on hand to provide acceptable options for
all customers who request straws.
If you don’t
want to ask for a straw but prefer to use one, you can always bring your
own. There are a number of options available that include a case and
cleaning brush. One steel straw even folds into a case that can be put
in a pocket, a purse or attached to a key chain.
you know of any establishment in Waukesha County that has already
enacted a “straw upon request” policy, please let WEAL know by
contacting www.weal.org. WEAL would like to recognize these establishments on our website, Facebook page and in newsletter articles.
will be posting new information on the WEAL website and Facebook page,
please share information on reducing single-use plastics with your
family and friends.
In the meantime, “skip the straw” and enjoy drinking from a glass!