“Thousands of used straws collected from Pittsburgh restaurants fill a small office in Homewood ready to be assembled into a giant aquatic-themed sculpture to raise awareness of plastic waste.
“‘The straw is just an easy way to find a starting point to make a difference,’ Rebecca Bykoski, program manager of Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant, said about Straw Forward, which collected and cleaned 25,000 used straws from nearly 40 local restaurants, universities, and hospitals from July until October.
“Bykoski hopes the project will ‘spark some meaningful conversations of plastic use and single-use plastics’ and help ‘people as individuals understand what they can do to make a difference.’ . . .
“Once completed, the sculpture — measuring in at 9 feet by 9 feet and stretching 6 feet into the air — will depict an aquatic habitat, featuring a coral reef, a bird, fish, plant life, and fishing nets. . . .
“It will debut at 10 a.m. Jan. 15, at Carnegie Science Center, where the sculpture will be on display until mid-February. After that, it will be upcycled again by students at Seneca Valley High School who will turn the materials into products such as resin-laid tables. . . .
“Bae Bae’s Kitchen, a Korean-inspired restaurant Downtown, is switching from plastic to paper straws because of their experience collecting straws during Straw Forward.
“‘Just seeing how many straws we were collecting on a daily basis,’ owner Edward Lai said, ‘It was a lot more than we thought.’ . . .
“‘It’s just one little thing that is almost effortless that has a high impact for the environment as well,’ Lai said about the switch. ‘It’s not too much more expensive that it’s going to break the bank because we made the switch.’”
FULL STORY published December 18, 2018 via The Incline