A creative agency in Huddersfield is helping to wage a war against plastic drinking straws.
Edgerton-based Para has launched #NoSuckingPlastic, an environmental campaign to replace all plastic straws with an alternative in a bid to reduce plastic waste - and is aiming for 1m stwars to be repladced this year.
The agency worked with the owners of Leeds-based restaurant LIVIN’Italy to devise the campaign which aims to encourage bars, cafes and restaurants across the city to replace all plastic straws with straws made from other materials and educate consumers on the impact of the waste so they, too, refuse plastic straws.
The campaign founders – Mattia Boldetti, owner of LIVIN’Italy, and Para agency co-owners Russ Sealey and Peter Turner – have a shared passion for water sports including surfing and scuba diving. As a result, they have first-hand experience of seeing the impact of plastic pollution on the world’s beaches and oceans.
Said Russ: “I regularly visit Anglesey and when we’re down on the beach I encourage my kids to collect any plastic waste they see. Other kids on the beach are collecting shells and stones with their parents, sifting through the plastic and leaving it behind. People just don’t seem to think it affects them.”
Mattia said: “Being a restauranteur myself, I know all too well about the amount of plastic waste produced by operations like ours in the UK and I am aware of the difficulties for waste management companies to recycle it.
“Bars and restaurants excessively use plastic straws without considering the impact on the environment. I understand what practical solutions can be implemented to solve the problem – which are feasible and which are not.”
Mattia said the campaigners welcomed proposals by the UK government to ban plastic straws, but added: “We believe a real difference can be made now and we’re eager to push this forward as much as we can until the ban formulates. We would love to meet with our local council to discuss how we can work together to take action now.”
The #NoSuckingPlastic campaign has grown from a handful of businesses at Granary Wharf in Leeds to several brands across the city and further afield. It has seen more than 67,000 plastic straws replaced so far and has pledged to replace a million this year.
Russ said the campaign, which is being promoted on Para’s Instagram site para_creative – was mainly aimed at encouraging independent bars and restaurants to replace plastic straws with paper ones.
While other alternatives to plastic straws – such as straws made from bamboo, metal or glass – would be too costly for independents to consider, a paper straw cost about 2p more than a plastic one. “That could easily be absorbed or passed on by adding 2p to the price of the drink,” said Russ.
“If venues halved their use by only providing a paper straw on request they could reduce their overheads.”
For more information and to join the campaign please visit, Nosuckingplastic.org