London campaign fights the war against plastic strawsBy Owen Bellwood
A new campaign, called Straw Wars, is striving to eradicate plastic drinking straws from bars across London.
The London campaign was set up by Jamie Poulton, director of Soho bar Randall & Aubin, after reading about David Rothschild’s 2010 expedition across the Pacific Ocean on a boat made from discarded plastic.
Poulton said: “The aim of the Straw Wars project was to highlight how the disposal of plastic straws only adds to the headache of plastic rubbish worldwide.”
Randall & Aubin stopped using plastic straws in its bar in 2011, and since Poulton launched the campaign, more than 30 bars across London have joined Straw Wars and pledged to stop using plastic straws.
Although most plastics can be recycled, drinking straws are not made of recyclable plastic, which means that every straw used could end up in landfill or our rivers and oceans.
According to Poulton, the campaign is especially important as: “A recent study suggested that plastic now outweighs plankton by 6:1 in our oceans and scientists estimate that every year at least one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals or sea turtles die when they entangle themselves in, or ingest, plastic.”
The Straw Wars campaign suggests that bars use alternatives like paper straws, as they are “a perfect alternative without the environmental consequences”.
Poulton also said: “Straws are often put in to drinks only for the customer to take them out and not use them, so another alternative is not to use them at all.
“Customers have been very receptive to the idea of banning plastic straws and to the reasons behind the campaign. Since we stopped using them, I have not been aware of any customer at Randall & Aubin who has complained about being given a paper straw.”
The campaign joins efforts from UK bar chain Wetherspoon which has pledged to remove plastic straws from its venues by the end of 2017.