The Last Straw?

Arturo-Santiago-Blog

For the longest time, I didn’t eat chocolate ice cream, the reason being that when I was a kid, my younger brother and sister both loved double scoop chocolate ice cream cones. They would attack them so voraciously that a wet and dripping circle of brown would form around their little mouths. I guess being somewhat of a “neat-freak” and seeing the mess they made put me off from having a cone myself.

I had a similar self-conscious aversion to straws as a young adult, after seeing a comedian explaining why men should never use them by lampooning the manner in which people place their mouths around straws. But now, my lifelong ban on straws has newfound legitimacy.

Spirits company Bacardi Limited has partnered with a nonprofit group called “Lonely Whale” in a movement against single-use plastic straws with the goal of removing one billion of them by 2020. They’re calling the campaign “The Future Doesn’t Suck.”

Bacardi itself is going to take a closer look at its own global supply chain to see where it can eliminate non-essential, non-recyclable single-use plastic waste. In the online announcement of the campaign, Rick Wilson, the senior vice president of corporate responsibility for Bacardi, said, “Engaging our accounts and our consumers in the reduction of single-use plastic is a critical next step in helping to put an end to plastic pollution. Single-use plastic items are among the most collected pieces of trash in our oceans, and we are urging our consumers to add ‘No plastic straw, please’ to every drink order so together we can make impactful change.”

From the website:

#thefuturedoesntsuck formally kicks off in London, England, where the BACARDÍ® rum brand and Lonely Whale will mobilize consumers and businesses to work together towards the goal of achieving a radical reduction of single-use plastic straw consumption throughout the city. The campaign is supported with a series of illustrations that communicate the devastating impact of single-use plastic straws on the world’s oceans.

The iconic rum brand will eliminate single-use plastic straws from branded events, music activations, and the BACARDÍ Rum Truck while committing to use biodegradable paper cups across the UK activations. In addition, BACARDÍ in the UK will donate the proceeds of ticket sales from its Casa Bacardi music events, taking place throughout June and July in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, to the Lonely Whale’s Strawless Ocean initiative. In the fall, activity continues in North America as the rum brand activates the movement at all its major music activations.

In support of the collaboration, the global headquarters of Bacardi in Bermuda launched a new training program for distributor partners and on premise locations that offer alternatives to plastic straws. In the United States, where it’s been reported that approximately 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded each day, Bacardi will continue to partner with national chains and independent accounts to promote plastic-free, marine-friendly straws, or strawless options for cocktails. Bacardi and Lonely Whale will expand the program in China and focus on programs with ten leaders in the hospitality and spirits industry to drive adoption of the pledge.    

The reasons Bacardi and Lonely Whale are targeting plastic straws are that most plastic straws cannot be recycled because they’re too small or lightweight to be picked by mechanical sorters, they end up in the ocean through litter by coastal communities, and because (according to the campaign) an estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs.

According to Ocean Conservancy, Starbucks has made a similar announcement, saying it will phase out all single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.

I think we can all live without plastic straws a lot more easily than living without double-scoop chocolate ice cream cones. I’ll drink to that! (No plastic straw, please.) MSW_bug_web

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