Every day, Americans use more than 500 million plastic straws. And if asked, many of them would likely say the straw was an afterthought, a tool they don’t necessarily need with every drink.
Locally, the Yakima County Solid Waste Division is working to change that through The Last Straw Campaign.
In it, the division is working with local restaurants to adopt an ask-first policy, where only restaurant patrons who specifically ask for a straw are given one.
“I think a lot of times in restaurants, we sit down and don’t even think about someone putting a straw in our beverage,” said Yakima County recycling coordinator Marci Venable. “You’re using that for such a short amount of time, but it lives forever in the landfill.”
The garbage also often makes its way to oceans and streams, harming wildlife along the way.
Venable said she’s only been talking with restaurants for about a week. Antojitos Mexicanos and Second Street Grill have agreed to be a part of the initiative for at least one month.
You can watch the video of researchers pulling the straw from the turtle’s nose here. The video contains graphic content and strong language.
Check back for more information later today.