No straw, please!

3 simple words towards a Zero Waste world

On the picture above, you can see a “Hugo”, one of my favourite cocktails. It is a lovely, refreshing beverage made from prosecco, elderflower syrup, ice cubes and peppermint. Do you need anything else?

Some people might answer: Yes. There is no straw!

I refused it conciously, because straws are waste. And why should I drink with plastic? Therefore, I always say: No straw, please!

No straw, please! That’s my topic for today. Today, at the 3rd of February, we celebrate the international Straw Free Day.

Why should you refuse plastic straws?

“Produced within 5 seconds. In use for 5 minutes. Waste for 500 years.”

Original in German: „Es dauert 5 Sekunden, es zu produzieren, 5 Minuten, es zu nutzen und etwa 500 Jahre, es wieder abzubauen.“[1]

This sentence already tells you everything you need to know about disposable plastic straws. Most of the people are unconscious about the environmental impact of the small plastic straws. People in America throw away 500 million straws every day[2]!

bitte ohne strohhalm

These cocktails look really nice. But there are great alternatives instead of using the black throwaway straws!

By weight, straws are not the biggest source of waste. However, they are one of the most superfluous kinds of waste. It is no problem for anyone to refuse disposable plastic straws.

People who need/want straws can choose from a wide variety of alternatives: There are straws made from bamboo, glass or stainless steel. I think all the alternatives look great, but until now, I have never seen them in a restaurant.

At home I drink without straws. When I go to a restaurant or to a club, I order my drinks and always add: “No straw, please!” In the beginning I often forgot it, but now, ordering everything without straw has become a habit. It can help when you put a reminder in your smartphone or when all your friends order without straw too.

When I order, some of the waiters wonder about my “special request”. Usually, they bring the drink as I ordered it. But sometimes, waiters ignore or forget it. Then I explain them why it is important for me to order without a straw.

In my opinion, the easiest way to prevent most of the waste would be that all the restaurants, clubs and bars bring their drinks without straws respectively with reusable ones. In some areas, legislators even strive to prohibit straws. “Strawless in Seattle” is a great example. A prohibition would be the best solution in my opinion. Until then, I will keep on refusing straws and explaining my motivation.

When you or the restaurant refuse straws, this is a WIN-WIN-WIN situation: You can drink without plastic, the restaurant saves money and work effort, together we save the environment from plastic waste.

More Zero Waste when going out tonight

Embed from Getty Images

I really love this picture. The drinks look so tasty and stylish without plastic straws and other waste!

Another topic I’d like to talk about is the “cocktail napkin”. Some bars have the bad habit to put a napkin under your wine or long drink glass. In that case, it helps to refuse fast (!!!) and kindly: “Thank you, but I do not need a napkin.” I often explain why.

When I order cocktails, there is another trip hazard: Often the waiters put fruit decorations or tiny umbrellas on top of the cocktail. When they use wooden skewers, I take them home with me and use them in my kitchen. But when I know that a bar uses disposable plastic skewers, tiny umbrellas and stuff like that I tell the waiter to drop the fruit skewers or to make them without disposables.

When I go to a house party, people frequently drink from plastic cups. I do not even ask in advance: I always bring my own glass or use my glass bottle. On some big events, the use of glass is even prohibited. In the best case, the organisers use reusable plastic cups then. When they only have throwaway cups, I do not drink anything. In my opinion, wine and cocktails in a plastic cup taste worse than in a proper wine or long drink glass! I think that this is due to the temperature. But maybe it is only a personal matter of taste.

  • “Without straw, please!” helps you to prevent waste without any sacrifice. I hope this article gave you a good overview about further means to prevent waste when going out tonight: Not only on Straw Free Days, but throughout the whole year!

Do you use straws or do you think they are superfluous? And which alternative for disposable plastic straws do you like best? I’d like to hear your comments!




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