The Town of New Paltz Environmental Conservation Board commends the New Paltz High School seniors for convincing town and village board members to pass resolutions aimed at reducing plastic straw use in our restaurants. An estimated 500 million straws are being used daily in the United States. Except for people with medical needs, straws are not needed to consume beverages or water. Most of the time, plastic straws are not recyclable. While a portion of the straws are landfilled, where it may take centuries for them to break down, many end up littering the landscape, polluting our waterways and impacting wildlife. A number of cities in the United States are stepping up pressure on businesses and consumers to ditch this plastic accessory because of the pollution it causes: Malibu, Davis and San Luis Obispo in California, Fort Meyers and Miami Beach in Florida, and Seattle, Washington, have banned or limited the use of plastic straws in restaurants.
The board would like to build on the work begun by our students. On Earth Day (April 22 ) please meet us at 2 p.m. in front of the Commissary at 11 Church Street in New Paltz, to initiate a Plastic Straw Challenge to restaurants and bars. Along with local students and other community members, we will request these businesses to undertake at least one of the following:
- elimination of straws completely
- providing a statement on menus that straws are available upon request
- offering straws only when requested by a customer
- stocking either biodegradable or reusable straws.
The board will also be requesting that our local supermarkets carry non-plastic straw alternatives. There are many options to the plastic straw, a listing of these products can be found at: https://thelastplasticstraw.org/resources/.
We ask the community to help the effort by asking bars and restaurants to “skip the straw,” and in encouraging these businesses to join the challenge. Concerned shoppers should also seek alternatives to plastic straws when buying groceries. If your market doesn’t have environmentally preferable options, ask them to. If your grocery or favorite restaurant has alternatives to the plastic straw, by all means, commend them!
Together, we can all stop sucking once and for all. Join us in helping the earth on April 22!
Environmental Conservation Board
Town of New Paltz