The Last Plastic Straw Awards Alameda, CA for Going Plastic Straw Free

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.

Take the pledge to refuse plastic straws. 

Learn how to host a screening of STRAWS. 

Learn more about Plastic Free Islands. 

Each day, more than 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded in the U.S. alone. Plastic straws often end up on beaches and in waterways, where they are one of the top 5 items found, according to Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup data.

Plastic Pollution Coalition and The Last Plastic Straw have joined a new collaborative called Strawless Ocean that aims to raise awareness about plastic straws and ocean plastic pollution in a social media challenge. Watch PPC notable members Amy Smart and Van Jones challenge the public to #StopSucking plastic in Lonely Whale Foundation‘s newest PSA.

“Most people don’t think about the plastic straw, and are shocked to learn that plastic straws are not recycled,” explains Jackie Nuñez, founder of The Last Plastic Straw, who has raised awareness about plastic straws for 6 years. “They are used for minutes at best and tossed ‘away’ in our environment, where they will outlive us all and generations to come.”

The new campaign urges followers to take a video, selfie, or post a photo with a caption sharing a pledge to #StopSucking on plastic straws.

“We’re excited to be a part of the momentum building globally on refusing plastic straws,” continues Nuñez. “Together with Lonely Whale Foundation and many other plastic pollution campaigns, we are helping raise awareness to save the planet from plastic pollution one sip at a time!”

Learn more about The Last Plastic Straw.

Take the pledge to refuse plastic straws.

How the global campaign against plastic straws is ‘sucking in thousands of converts’

Over the weekend, The Washington Post published an article recognizing the work of The Last Plastic Straw, a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition, and others who are working to eliminate plastic drinking straws from our waste stream, beaches, and environment. Why is the campaign resonating with so many people across the globe?

Jackie Nuñez, who has been speaking up about plastic straws in her community in Santa Cruz, California, for 7 years and founded The Last Plastic Straw, says tens of thousands of people were drawn in by the viral video of the turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose.

“You can’t unsee that video, it has became the literal last straw for many people to say no to plastic straws,” says Nuñez. “This has caused a public outcry for change and has prompted many organizations and groups to seize the opportunity to spread the say no to single-use plastic message. Countless campaigns have popped up worldwide in the last year and I am still finding at least one new group every week.”

While the turtle video may draw in environmentalists and organizations alike, it is the organizing of grassroots efforts that is creating change in communities across the world. Many of these efforts are being amplified by a plastic straws working group led by Nuñez and comprised of Plastic Pollution Coalition members.

“Thank you to all of the members of our working group who are collaborating to eliminate plastic straws,” continues Nuñez. “Our work is gaining momentum because people are recognizing the plastic straw as a catalyst or the ‘gateway’ issue that will meaningfully shift the way individuals and businesses think about plastic pollution – and about our society’s disposable culture on a larger scale.”

According to Nuñez, more than 1,800 restaurants, organizations, institutions, and schools worldwide have stopped using plastic straws or implemented a serve-straws-upon-request policy because of these efforts.

Use this poster to ask local eateries to switch to straws upon request during the month of July.

What can you do to join the movement?

  • Simply request “no straw please” at bars, cafes, and restaurants and join us in the global movement to eliminate plastic drinking straws from our landfills, our waterways, our oceans, and our beaches. Take the pledge!

  • Reach out to local eateries in your neighborhood or town and ask them to change their protocol to “only serve straws upon request.” Simply download and print this PDF and ask them to try it for the month of July in honor of Plastic Free July.

  • Encourage businesses to make the change to non-plastic straw options – like paper, rye wheat, glass, or stainless steel – if diners do request a straw. We have a business-specific pledge for them to sign, too.

  • Organize a screening of STRAWS the documentary film that features Nuñez and PPC Allies Tim Robbins, Wallace J. Nichols, and Pam Longobardi. See reviews and buy the DVD for public awareness and educational use.

“Smaller habits are indeed leading to bigger habits,” says Nuñez. “Join us in making the single-use plastic straw a thing of the past, like smoking in dining and drinking establishments worldwide.”

To learn more about our straws working group, contact us

Join our global Coalition.