Did you know 500 Million plastic straws are used everyday in the United States? Many of those plastic straws end up in our oceans, polluting the water and harming sea life. If we don’t act now, by 2050 plastics in the ocean will outweigh the fish.
What is Kildare's going to do to help and how can you help?
For Earth Day this Sunday, we will be switching all of our straws over to durable, biodegradable paper straws. The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of plastic that goes through the restaurant as waste. You as our guests can also help by requesting no straw in your drinks.
Why make the switch?
I did some math and In Kildare's last year, the volume of plastic straws that we went through pushed close to 300,000. Growing up in Australia, I have always been very environmentally conscious but as a culture, especially recently, we are often caught up in convenience and costs.
I was recently inspired to learn that the entire United Kingdom is contemplating banning plastic straws throughout. Learning that in our one pub, one item was used that often and then when you look at the impact that one place can have on the environment is quite overwhelming. Hopefully we will have enough support from our community that we are able to make the switch permanently.
Perhaps we can start a trend throughout the area. It’s a small thing for us, our waitstaff, and our customers to do in order to leave our environment much better off.
The difference between a biodegradable straw and a plastic straw is that instead of taking years to begin to break down like a plastic straw, leaching plastic chemicals into the environment, a biodegradable straw can break down within 180 days if subjected to the proper conditions. The straws themselves are made of products such as starch based resins, corn and bamboo; all inexpensive and renewable products.
We already know that plastic bags and soda can rings are bad for the environment and end up in the ocean. Few people realize that straws are among the top 10 items found during beach clean ups and can do so much harm to seabirds, turtles and other marine creatures.
As an item of convenience for the vast majority of us, we believe refusing the single-use plastic straw is the easiest and simplest way for everyone to take action today to address plastic pollution. If we all take the pledge to refuse single-use plastic straws we will see a significant decrease in the number of straws found during coastal cleanups.
An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate. What would our oceans be without marine life?
(source: Communication with Chris Wilcox, CSIRO, primary and contributing author to both studies cited)
What’s equally as bad, perhaps even worse is that when plastic does make it into the ocean it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces known as “microplastics” rather than biodegrading or dissolving, which poses great threats to marine life including fish.
I hope that together we can start to make a difference in our community.