LOCATION: Soho, London.

AIM: To inspire a movement that will encourage bars and restaurants to eradicate plastic drinking straws.

BACKGROUND: The “Straw Wars” campaign has been launched by several restaurants, hotels and bars within the Soho area of London, in order to encourage employees to stop automatically handing out plastic drinking straws. Although plastic straws can be recycled, they often end up in landfill. Discarded plastic compromises the health of marine wildlife and constitutes over 60% of debris on UK beaches. 

ACTIVITIES: Soho is London’s first area to join and support the Straw Wars movement. Emma Snowden, Litter Campaigns Officer with the Marine Conservation Society, told the Guardian newspaper, “we see so much single use plastic appear in the sea and on beaches in our surveys. In the case of straws that are given out routinely, the product may have been manufactured and then disposed of without even a single use – this represents a senseless waste of resource as well as a waste management issue“. By only providing straws when requested by a customer, businesses save overheads in a way that is also more environmentally responsible.

Currently, 25 businesses have joined the campaign and are urging further businesses to get involved. Jamie Poulton, Campaign Leader and Owner of the restaurant and takeaway, Randall & Aubin, told the Guardian:  “If we’re able to raise awareness with Straw Wars and the work that Soho has done towards a cleaner environment, then the next step would be a move towards resolving the current waste collection and disposal issues in Soho. This is a very ambitious project, but will benefit local businesses, customers and the environment.”