Strawless in SLC!

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Please sign this petition and Join the SLC Air Protectors, Heal Utah, Recycle Utah, SLUG Magazine, Catalyst Magazine, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, PANDOS, Conscious Community Collective and more in the Strawless in SLC Campaign! Americans use and dispose of fifty million one-time-use plastic drinking straws every single day. The majority of this waste comes from the restaurants and businesses that provide this convenient way of drinking smoothies, juices, water, coffee and other alcoholic beverages. A rough estimate states that medium sized restaurants will utilize and dispose of approximately 5,000 straws per month. The majority of these straws are not recycled, or cannot be recycled -- and will become a permanent member of the landfill, or flood into our oceans.

My name is Laura and I recently started fully understanding the impact that plastic was having on our world after my trip to south-east Asia. In America, my privilege of living in a first world country hid the trash I produced and threw away. It was almost like a magic trick. I could simply use a disposable object, and would not have to ever see it again once I popped it into the over sized trash-cans that were emptied for me. During my travels, the trash problem became so apparent. I was humbled as I walked in litter that covered the streets. I found myself being offered straws for everything, and would subsequently see these same straws rolling down the sidewalks, and popping out of every crevice the city had to offer. In Thailand, the water-system is not up to par, and without a filtration system the tap water is not safe to drink. Therefore, plastic water bottles are used at every turn. Plastic bags are handed out like candy.

Walking down the streets of Bangkok, I turned to one of my friends and exclaimed how privileged I felt, and the how humbled I felt to be here. The plastic problem shook me to the core. I had never seen so much trash. It had all been hidden from me -- my entire life! I began seeing how a single person could impact the environment in such a positive way. What if I simply eliminated my plastic consumption? How much plastic was I alone adding to this problem? On my last week, I decided to not contribute to the problem anymore. I would not use one-time-use plastics any longer. Instead I would use ethical and biodegradable solutions instead. I started filling up my glass water bottle with Reverse Osmosis water-pumps all over Chiang Mai. And would find filtration systems in the airports. Yet, I was still offered straws, constantly. I was never given an option before they plopped the one-time use straw into my drink. I wanted to change this. I wanted people to be able to choose, and have better choices.

When I came back to the states, I was presented with an amazing opportunity to spearhead Strawless in SLC with the non-profit organization, SLC Air Protectors (www.slcairprotectors.org) The idea first started thanks to Strawless in Seattle which got over 150 restaurants on board and eliminated 2.3 million plastic straws in the process.

The goal is to provide better options for the restaurants in our cities, and to help my city take a small but important step for positive change. Straws are useful inventions! They are so convenient, and practical; my goal is not to take this away. But rather, to provide a better solution -- to use environmentally friendly straws when needed and upon request.  

The first step away from this environmental nightmare has a simple solution. One that can be utilized in a few steps: one, if a person does not request a straw, they are not automatically given a one-time-use plastic straw. Second, if they do need a straw -- as they are practical devices, they will be given a cost-effective, and biodegradable straw.

Restaurants that have utilized this procedure have realized a 50-80% percent reduction in the use of straws inside their restaurant. This step will save restaurants money in the long run, it will also help save our planet. It is a win-win! The first step in reaching our goal of getting over fifty restaurants in the next month in the greater Salt Lake City area to agree to this campaign is showing that there is public support. Thank you for signing this petition and showing restaurant owners that the need for one-time plastic-straws is not needed, and that safer, more environmentally friendly straws exist and would be preferred by the public. In the next month our goal is to get at least fifty restaurants on-board with the campaign and to save 250,000 plastic straws from going into the landfills and oceans by Earth Day April 22nd! Will you stand with me? Sign and share this petition today, and help us go Strawless in SLC!

 



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