HARLOW Playhouse has stopped using disposable plastic straws to help combat the global issue of plastic pollution.
Bio-degradable paper straws are now being served to Playhouse customers, and the eco-friendly transition comes ahead of a UK wide ban on the sale of plastic straws that could come into effect as early as next year.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced the new ban during a meeting with Commonwealth nations, when she said: “Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world, which is why protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.”
It is believed that Harlow Playhouse is one of only a few businesses in Harlow offering bio-degradable straws (alongside William Aylmer Wetherspoons, Frankie and Bennies and Phoenix Live), and Commercial and Development Manager Kirstie Brough is urging other businesses to make the change.
Kirstie said: “It is estimated 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year in the UK alone, and it’s not right that our natural world has to carry the burden of our throwaway culture. It is a simple transition that, if everyone gets on board, will make a noticeable difference to our oceans and our entire eco-system. There is no need to wait for straws to be banned to make the decision.”
The UK government has helped to noticeably decrease the amount of plastic in England’s waters over the past few years. The newly proposed ban follows a total ban on microbeads and the successful implementation of a plastic bag charge.
The UK’s tax on single use plastic bags has resulted in a 90% drop in their use, equalling 9 billion less plastic bags being used.
Many news outlets and anti plastic campaigners have commented on a change in social attitudes since David Attenborough’s universally acclaimed Blue Planet II was broadcast late last year.
With a heavy emphasis on plastic pollution, the final episode took an unflinching view of humankind’s impact on marine life, and left many viewers unable to escape a feeling of complicity.
Kirstie said: “I definitely feel Blue Planet had a positive impact on people in regards to their use of plastic. And the customers that have come through our doors have seemed very happy that we have made the swap to paper straws.”
Bio-degradable straws can be bought wholesale from a number of online retailers.