New Straw Trend Reaches Satellite Beach

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New Straw Trend Reaches Satellite Beach

Shania Campbell

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Restaurants across the U.S. have been changing the material of their straws to shape a cleaner environment.


The reason for this sudden change in materials is because people have noticed how harmful they are to the environment: They are thin enough to slip past sewer drain barriers and end up in the ocean, becoming yet another hazard for endangered marine life.


Restaurants along American coastlines are now trying to be more environmentally friendly by using paper straws, pasta straws, or simply not offering them. Local restaurants and cafes including The Shuck Shack, Starbucks, and Banana River Cafe have begun to follow this new trend.


Banana River Cafe is still currently using plastic straws, but, according to the new owner Emerson Krause, “We give [plastic straws] if they’re requested, but we are switching to paper straws or a biodegradable option. It’s really up to our suppliers.” This trend is known by many people to be helpful to the environment, especially restaurants that are along the coast.


The Shuck Shack is currently using plastic straws upon request, “because all the paper straws are currently out of stock,” according to the general manager of the Shuck Shack Charles Denary. As a new restaurant in town, their grand opening was August 24th and they’re still getting situated and are hoping to use more paper and pasta straws in the near future.


Starbucks recently came out with a new unique design idea to use lids on cups instead of plastic straws for the sake of helping the environment. The new lids are plastic, but they can be recycled just like the cups. Customers can also continue to use straws if they prefer, because the lids have an opening large enough for straws.


Satellite High School students also encourage this new change. Sophomore Leo Pilipovich believes “ocean pollution and animal endangerment are huge problems that need to be fixed.” Sophomore Brielle Locke concurs, stating, “It’s only straws, but it can make a big difference for turtles since the ‘huge turtle thing’ that happened recently.”


Protecting sea turtles is one of the main reasons for cutting down on plastic straws: A video of researchers removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose garnered attention after being posted online. It happened back in 2015 and caused some cities along U.S. coastlines to ban plastic straws but was soon buried in the plethora of other news. The video was recently brought back into the public eye this past July, causing a sudden but powerful uproar against plastic straws.


Plastic materials harm the environment tremendously and the public is slowly changing the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives-even outside of the restaurants. Devary stated, “Just like Publix getting away from the plastic bags and starting to move more towards the reusable bags, it works in the same way with the straws. It all comes from one source: plastic.” Plastic bags can be recycled into trash bags at home, but most end up in the trash or the street either way. Plastic straws can’t be recycled, causing them to be tossed in the trash or on the ground and it harms marine life enormously-especially being so close to the ocean.


This shift in materials has become controversial throughout the country, as it is considered an insignificant issue in comparison to current events. On the other hand, supporters believe that it adds to the already apocalyptic issue of pollution. While it may be a small issue compared to others, it’s an easy fix, as long as restaurants use an environmentally friendly material for straws. Krause stated, “In the grand scheme of things, it might seem like a small thing, but it’s getting people thinking about other options. […] I think it’s a good thing to have in people’s minds, just to be aware.”


Straws may be the first stage of creating more environmentally-friendly restaurant materials. Krause mentioned that “if we can win the straw battle, maybe we [will utilize safer] to-go containers.” To-go containers in restaurants are usually styrofoam and bad for the environment, but Krause stated that “a lot of places […] have the cardboard biodegradable containers.”


Changing from styrofoam to cardboard is a switch that benefits the environment greatly, but even customers can help by bringing their own to-go containers. Krause opined, “I’ve been to places in New York where it’s bring-your-own if you want it to-go. People just have these ‘little to-go plastic reusable things’ that people bring to restaurants.” It’s all a matter of habit, just like when you bring reusable bags to the grocery store to avoid using too many plastic bags.


Solutions for enormous problems always have a starting point no matter how insignificant it may seem. Sometimes the smallest stride can become important for a cleaner environment and a better future.