Plastic straws. Convenient, ever-present, handed out like Halloween candy — and not able to be recycled. The most recent estimates say that in the United States alone, hundreds of millions of plastic straws are disposed of each and every day (according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition). This ever-replenished army of plastic straws fills our landfills, pollutes our waterways, and is a threat to wildlife.
The issue of single-use plastic waste is getting more attention recently, like in these stories from the Tribune Review and NPR. McDonald’s, which distributes an estimated 95 million single-use straws around the world every day, announced it will stop using plastic straws in the UK; and Hilton pledged to eliminate plastic straws from 650 hotels it manages directly around the world.
To bring local attention to the wasteful practice of using single-use plastic straws, Sustainable Pittsburgh is launching the Straw Forward project. From June 18 – July 16, participating Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants will be collecting used plastic straws, which will be turned into a work of art by a local artist. The finished project will be publicly displayed and then upcycled into another useful product.
Restaurants that will be collecting straws include: