Subway: Help End Plastic Pollution, Adopt a "Straw Upon Request" Policy

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When I first saw the viral video of a turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nostril and throat, I was speechless. I had known that plastic waste was a problem, but never so deeply understood the harm it causes to those around us.

Inspired, I started a petition with my school's environmental club asking my state to adopt a “straw upon request” policy. But soon I realized that wasn’t enough: we need the restaurant industry to do its part in controlling the plastic waste that plagues our oceans.

Marine experts say that if we don't curb plastic waste, the majority of which is made up up single-use straws, by 2050 there might be more plastic in our oceans than fish. That’s unacceptable.

Restaurant's like Ted's Montana Grill and Bon Appetit have ended their use of plastic straws, and just this month shareholders at McDonald's considered a ban on plastic straws in their restaurants. It’s time that Subway Restaurants, one of the largest fast-food chains in the U.S. and an environmental leader in the fast-food industry, follow suit. With nearly 45,000 locations in the U.S. alone, their ability to make a dent in curbing plastic waste is tremendous.

Subway has already taken steps to reduce their waste: their napkins are made with 100% recycled fiber, their salad bowls were redesigned to remove 2.62 million pounds of plastic from their waste stream, and they have changed the design of their cup carriers to save thousands of trees per year. It's clear the restaurant chain wants to be known for its environmental sustainability ― but their use of plastic straws is still an issue.

As one of the most influential restaurant chains in America, the number of plastic straws they use ― and the number that end up in our oceans, swallowed by sea turtles ― is concerning. Why not take a bold step and implement a "straw upon request" policy in their stores? With this policy, the use of straws are still available to those who require it to drink, such as children or those with physical disabilities. This subtle change would not greatly reduce the unnecessary use of straws, but also bring attention to the urgency of the battle against plastic pollution.

Please urge Subway to help end plastic straw waste by implementing a plastic "straw upon request" policy.



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