The Last Plastic Straw, a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition, presented the City of Alameda, California, with a certificate on May 30 to recognize their efforts eliminating plastic straws (and now all plastic food ware) from the city. Jackie Nuñez, founder of The Last Plastic Straw, inspired a local student movement to stop using plastic straws earlier this year.
Alameda is an island impacted on all sides by marine plastic pollution, most of which comes from single-use plastic food packaging. Last year, Clean Water Action’s ReThink Disposable selected Alameda for its groundbreaking community-wide project, Unpackaging Alameda, where over 100 restaurants on the island are being recruited to reduce disposable food ware in favor of reusables.
The May 30 event included presentations from Nuñez, local high school students who are ReThink Disposable Youth Ambassadors, and a screening of the short film STRAWS. The Youth Ambassadors presented their findings with data collected by using the Litterati app.
The event was sponsored by Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda (CASA), Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund, The Last Plastic Straw, and the City of Alameda’s waste reduction initiatives.
The Last Plastic Straw and Plastic Pollution Coalition are building momentum around a worldwide movement, so plastic straws become a relic of the past. In the short term, we work with our Coalition to encourage eateries to no longer automatically give plastic straws; we educate individuals to refuse plastic straws and spread the “straw free” message; and we work to change local regulation to stop this unnecessary plastic pollution.
In the long run, this collective engagement around the gateway issue of plastic straws will meaningfully shift the way individuals and businesses think about plastic pollution – and about our society’s disposable culture on a larger scale.