World first: Blackheath phases out plastic straws

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Plastic straws suck: World first as Blackheath phases out plastic straws in favour of the old fashioned paper variety. Wattle Cafe’s Paul Beavis and Lis Bastian (front) with Victory Cafe’s Terry Tan and the Ivanhoe’s Kerrie Ray.Blackheath has become the world’s first town where all the shopfront businesses have agreed to phase out plastic straws.
Nanjing Night Net

Blackheath magazine editor, Lis Bastian, co-ordinated the phase out over the last fewmonths liaisingwith some 30 businesses. The many cafe owners, the servo, grocers, pubs, takeaway shopand deli in thepopular tourist town are nowall on board.

“Globally billions of straws are thrown out each day and Blackheath alone has been throwing out 40,000 straws a month.It’s a big deal.”

Ms Bastianorganised acommunity paper straw bulk buy and sponsorship from American manufacturer Aardvark and Australian distributorGreen Pack. “Because it wasa whole town response, they gave us a whole town discount.”

When stocks of the cheaper plastic straws run out, businesses in this popular tourist town will only offer the high quality waxedpaper straws, while encouragingshoppers to forgo a straw completely if they don’t really need one.

“When I was a kid they were all paper [straws], in one generation plastic has taken over …plastic pollution is getting so dire.”

Ms Bastian, who is also a lecturer in environmental management,said a town in Canada had almost managed to ban the plastic straws –“but they didn’t quite get there”;another town in India was being forced to do it by government.

“Because plastic straws don’t biodegrade, they are amongthe top plastic pollutants harming our waterways. It’ssuch a small thing wecan do and I’m thrilled the businesses of Blackheath have worked collaboratively to achieve this milestone.”

She said it was also good for children today to see small changes can happen and matter.“We have to show them that things can be changed.”

Participants at Blackheath’s Youth Cafe had told her that “straws suck” and they would be happy to pay an extra 5c to cover the cost of a biodegradable alternative.

Victory Cafe owner Terry Tan, said he “hadn’t worked out the extra cost, but it doesn’t matter, it’s not a big deal”.

Blackheath Chamber of Commerce vice president and the owner of theWattle Cafe, Paul Beavis,said he would look at spreading the message with the other Mountains Chambers. “The chamber is right behind it.”

Ivanhoe co-owner Kerrie Ray has also got on board.“I just go along, it’s easier.”

Ms Bastian said at the moment they were getting a box of 600for the subsidised price of $10, but it was a lot cheaper to buy plastic at $15 for 5000 straws.

“It can’t be that business shoulders the whole cost.The idea is over time we will discourage people from using straws.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.