Strawless by the Sea: Over 30 Newport establishments ditch plastic straws

This World Oceans Day, Green Drinks Newport has announced the success of Strawless by the Sea, the year-long collaborative campaign to eliminate plastic straws in Newport, Rhode Island.

“Millions around the world will celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8 and, in Newport, we’ll be celebrating that over 50,000 plastic straws PER MONTH have been eliminated from popular establishments and tourist destinations,” said Kara DiCamillo, Green Drinks Newport Organizer in a press release. “Over the past year, more than 30 businesses in Newport and neighboring towns have made a voluntary commitment to stop offering plastic straws and stirrers to help protect what we all love.”

Green Drinks Newport, in partnership with Clean Ocean Access and The Last Straw, launched Strawless by the Sea on World Oceans Day in 2018 in response to increased plastic waste on beaches and in the ocean. In Newport, 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.

Photo: Strawless By The Sea

“Green Drinks has been gathering like-minded people together each month in Newport for the past 12 years to network and share ideas, so it made sense for Strawless by the Sea to be a collaborative effort to help spark a local movement,” DiCamillo continued. “We have amazing leaders in our community who brought awareness to plastic straw pollution before the campaign launched, such as the Pell Elementary School, Sailors for the Sea and the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover, hosted by Sail Newport. We wanted to take it one step further by tracking the number of plastic straws used per month so we could tally how many we’ve all helped to eliminate.”

According to the Ocean Conservancy, over 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the U.S., which is enough to circle the earth 2.5 times. Plastic straws are used for 20 minutes on average, but take up to 500 years to break down. Restaurants can ditch the use of plastic straws by switching to paper straws or reusable straws or by going completely “strawless.”

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The Bit Players

These Newport establishments are making an impact and have joined Strawless by the Sea:

  • 12 Meter Charters
  • 22 Bowen’s
  • Aquidneck Growers Market
  • Bannister’s Wharf Marina & Guest Rooms
  • Belle’s Café at the Newport Shipyard
  • Blackstone Caterers
  • Boat House
  • Brix Restaurant at Newport Vineyards
  • Castle Hill Inn
  • The Clarke Cooke House
  • Cru Café
  • Diego’s
  • Diego’s Barrio Cantina
  • Fifth Element
  • Fluke Newport
  • Grace at the Vanderbilt
  • Hotel Viking
  • Jo’s American Bistro
  • Lucia Italian Restaurant
  • Malt
  • Meg’s Aussie Milk Bar
  • Mission
  • The Mooring
  • Newport Dinner Cruises
  • Newport Restaurant Group
  • Scales and Shells
  • Simpatico Jamestown
  • Smoke House
  • Taproot Brewing Co. at Newport Vineyards
  • TSK
  • The Wharf Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar
  • Winner Winner

Environmental groups and local businesses have also backed Strawless by the Sea, including: Bowen’s Wharf, Discover Newport; Sail Newport; Sailors for the Sea; The Ocean Project and; World Oceans Day.

“As an individual, refusing a single-use plastic straw in our bars and restaurants in Newport is the easiest and simplest way to take action today to address plastic pollution,” DiCamillo said.

To join the collaboration and to learn more about Strawless by the Sea, visit: www.strawlessnewport.org.

Meanwhile at the Statehouse, legislation that would curtail the use of plastic straws in restaurants is on the move. Last Wednesday, The Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture considered a bill (2019-S 0202A) introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) that would prohibit a food service establishment from providing a consumer with a single-use plastic straw, unless the straw is from a self-service dispenser or the consumer requests such a straw.

That bill has since been placed on the Senate Calendar for June 11, 2019. Meanwhile, ecoRI News reports that this bill isn’t getting much support from the environmental community.

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