How To #StopSucking: A Handy Guide

* Ban Plastic Straws From all Restaurants in Toronto *

StrawlessTO has been making waves in Toronto, bringing the #StopSucking movement to our doorstep. While straws seem like a small thing, they aren't easy to recycle (because of their size), they are one of the top items found in beach cleanups, they end up inside the noses of turtles and in the US alone, people go through enough of the little plastic tubes to wrap around the Earth 2.5 times. It's time for them to go, sign the petition.

The Lonely Whale Foundation has launched an innovative social media campaign to raise awareness about the detrimental effect that sucking on plastic straws is having on the planet. With a star-studded launch - including the likes of Adrian Grenier, Kendrick Sampson and Yuna to name just a few - they are challenging everyone to stop using plastic straws.

They are asking us to take the pledge to #StopSucking - to save our oceans and all the creatures that inhabit them from the dangers of plastic straws.

Plastic straws seem like such as small thing, but when 500 million of them are being used and tossed out every. single. day. in the US alone, that's a little thing with a big impact. If you need a mental image, that's enough hollow plastic sticks to wrap around the circumference of the planet 2.5 times a day! And when you consider that scientists are predicting there will be more plastic floating around in the ocean than fish by the year 2050, it might just be high time we did something about it. What better place to start than with an item most of us do not even really need?

So, do you suck? Do you want to #StopSucking? Check out our handy guide below. (NOTE: this does not apply to those who legitimately need straws. Ableism is a real thing in the zero waste movement and it is not our intention to say that those who need straws shouldn't have them)

Steps You Need to Take to #StopSucking:


1) If Adrian Grenier in his #StopSucking T-shirt doesn't do it for you, watch this video of a sea turtle having a plastic straw removed from its nostril. This is a horrifying image that you are not likely to un-see any time soon, which means every time you use a plastic straw - that's right, you're going to think of this sea turtle. Just try carrying on with your sucking ways with this image in your head. 


2) Arm yourself. If you are a user of straws, get yourself a reusable straw. A glass straw, a stainless steel straw, a bamboo straw. If you want an incredibly compact and easy-to-tranport straw, then this collapsible straw that fits on your keychain is for you. Any of these are acceptable. Carry your straw with you at all times. 

We hear what you're saying - it's too haaarrrd to carry a straw on you at all times. We will refer you back to step one. Sea. Turtle. And here's some advice on how to assemble and easily carry a Zero Waste Kit

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3) If you are not a user of straws, you must remember to tell the individuals bringing you drinks in the establishments you frequent to HOLD THE STRAW. Tattoo this on your brain: "I would like a glass of water, BUT NO STRAW PLEASE." You may have to say it more than once to get it to stick. And if they bring you a plastic straw, you must make sure to refer them to step one of this guide. 


4) Educate others to help them with their journey to #StopSucking. When you see a friend sucking on a plastic straw, gently break the news to them: "James, I hate to break it to you, but you suck." Talk to them about the problems with plastic. And then - you guessed it - SHOW THEM THE SEA TURTLE. See? You're getting the hang of this. 


5) Two Toronto bars recently took the pledge to #StopSucking and The Last Straw Toronto was able to inspire 150 bars and restaurants across the GTA to go straw-free together on April 21. 

Petition local establishments to stop carrying plastic straws and other single-use plastic items (encourage them to keep paper or biodegradable options for those patrons who need them). Talk to your local City Councillors and MPs and start pushing your Government to adopt all out single-use plastic bans, fees and other meaningful regulations. On July 1, Seattle became the first major US city to put a comprehensive ban on plastic straws, opening the doors for other cities to consider similar regulations. Even more impressive is the stance Costa Rica is taking, which is to become the world's first country to implement a comprehensive national strategy and eliminate all single-use plastics by 2021. 


And that's all there is to it. Congrats, you no longer suck!   

*** we acknowledge that some folks have legitimate needs for straws. We are confident that an appropriate alternative could be found (there are innovative developments using seaweed, for example). And in the interim, straws could be kept on hand for those who need them.


This is a guest blog by @itsahashtaglife, who has been perfecting the art of online storytelling as a method to amplify the important messages of non-profits and charities in Toronto for the last four years. She takes the tools and techniques of traditional digital media marketing and applies them to organizations working hard to shift our world into a new story – one that is more sustainable and supportive of people and the planet.

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