LBI Garden Club on Mission to Eliminate Plastic Straws

Aug 07, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill A variety of reusable straws.

Seven members of the Environmental Committee of the Garden Club of LBI agreed to fight plastic straw pollution on a personal level by visiting 72 restaurants, diners, coffee shops and ice cream parlors on the Island and in Stafford Township.

Gillian Rozicer, club publicity director, said the idea is to alert the establishments and their clientele to plastic pollution, and share the statistics regarding plastic straws and the damage they are doing.

“And we hope customers take the information along with them to their homes across the state,” she said. “We would like to see all establishments stop using plastic straws and only give out any straws when requested.”

Rozicer said the club has prepared a laminated fact card to display on a counter or to copy for each table to let customers know about plastic pollution and that they have an opportunity to make a difference.

Highlighted on the cards is the fact that while straws are small, they are used enough daily to go around the world  2½ times. Plastic straws take as many as 200 to 500 years to decompose, and even then they are dangerous micro plastics. The card says that each year, more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic. In addition, plastic straws are ranked 11th as the most frequently found trash in the ocean around the world.

Rozicer said early indications are that the message is getting through. For example, she said, at Black Eyed Susans in Harvey Cedars, the restaurant is already using paper straws as well as brown paper bags and cardboard  for carry-outs. Also in Harvey Cedars, Neptune Market is using paper straws and wooden stirrers as well as paper products for to-go items. They also give out reusable cups for liquids that can be brought back and refilled for a $1 refund.

“We’re finding that many other places are taking similar actions,” said Rozicer. “Or if they haven’t yet, they’re at least becoming concerned and may change over to paper at another time. Our group feels encouraged over what we have heard.”

Albert Holl, co-owner of Neptune Market, said use of plastic items is down around 95 percent.

“Paper straws don’t always work, especially with something thick like a milkshake,” he said.

Instead, he said he offers “sipper tops,” which are recyclable lids that allow people to drink cold beverages without straws.

“A lot of this awareness with plastic items is coming from the younger people, who are being taught to be good stewards of the environment,” said Holl.  —E.E.




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