After Winchester Mayor David Smith urged restaurants to reduce the use of plastic straws for one week, some restaurants are keeping up with this initiative.
In the weeks leading up to Earth Day, sixth grader students Ellie Bessette and Lexy Plotts of the Powhatan School presented Mayor Smith with their research on the environmental harm of plastic straws. Together, they came up with “That’s the Last Straw” week.
“I would say I’m pretty conscious about how often I use plastic and for something like a straw, it’s easy not to use it so I’m behind it,” said Union Jack server Henley Shull.
Staff at many Winchester restaurants say they plan to continue this initiative, but it comes to down to the personal choice of the server.
“Anytime anybody asks for one I give it to them but other than that I really don’t give it out, unless it’s children,” said Union Jack server Kristen Smith.
According to National Geographic, 500 million straws are used in the United States every day and 8.3 billion straws pollute the world’s beaches.
“If you use a straw it’s going to end up somewhere and it’s not going anywhere because you can’t recycle it. So it’s either in the ocean or just filling up landfills faster than we need to,” said Shull.
As time goes on, more cities and states are working to ban plastic straws altogether.
“Eventually, they’ll hopefully ban it like they did in California and give out fines,” said Roma Wood-Fired Pizzeria server Stephanie Hopkins.
Aside from plastic, restaurants are also opting for paper and compostable straws.
“We’re just harming our earth by just contributing towards that so I think it’s really important as humans to try and be mindful of plastic bags and straws and all that stuff because it does add up,” said Hopkins.
Servers say they’ve seen a decrease in the use of straws so far and they hope it continues.