Clutching at straws to help stop pollution

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Plastic straws. Pic © Jo Cunliffe JMU Journalism

A new scheme has been launched across Merseyside to help reduce the prevalence of single-use plastic straws.

The environmental initiative, which is aimed primarily at businesses across the city region, was started by Independent Liverpool and their co-founder, David Williams.

Similar schemes have been launched on the Wirral and Chester recently, with this latest attempt also aiming to cut back on waste and pollution.

Mr Williams told JMU Journalism: “We decided to start this after a combination of a few things. It’s a hot topic among the press at the moment and the effects on the environment are there for all to see.

“But it was at the Baltic Market when I was taking the bins out and one of the bags split that I saw the real extent of the issue. There were loads of straws in that one bag alone, and that’s what inspired me to try and make a difference.”

The idea is to cut down on plastic straws, while also implementing the use of other, affordable, bio-degradable alternatives.

Speaking about his hopes for the campaign, Mr Williams said: “Ideally, across the whole of Merseyside we want as many independent bars, pubs and restaurants as possible to change to alternative solutions to plastic straws.

YouTube: Tim Spencer Tanfield

“It’s a big educational journey for us as well as the businesses. The use of plastic straws has been going on for too long now and the effect it is having on the environment is there for all to see. According to statistics, if things continue as they are then by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

“There are a number of alternatives, including silicone straws, bamboo and even paper. The great thing is that they all come at no price difference whatsoever, therefore there is no excuse for businesses to not make the switch.”

So far, the Independent Liverpool scheme, has proven a success, with a number of high-profile businesses, such as Maray and the Arts Club, following the trend set by Mr Williams and co.

For David, however, this is just the beginning. He said: “Our friends at Independent Birmingham have also started the same initiative. If 50 business across each city in the country stopped serving plastic straws then to me that represents a real success.

“It’s been great so far. Lots of people have come up to me and said that they had stopped using them, and if people are already behind it then that can only be a good thing.”

About Tim Spencer Tanfield, JMU Journalism