Straws seem to be the number one enemy of the green movement today.
Ever since a video of a suffering turtle with a straw up its nose was posted online, numerous countries have increased efforts to limit plastic pollution -- and straws are apparently the first plastic product to go.
Even in Singapore, several companies and restaurants have already eliminated plastic straws.
No more plastic straws by July 1
In an unprecedented push by the food and beverage (F&B) industry to eliminate plastic use, over 32 businesses in Singapore announced that they will be phasing out plastic straws by July 1, 2019.
Businesses that are part of this commitment will have plastic straws removed completely from their premises, according to a press release by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Straws will only be provided on request or for specific medical reasons.
This move is a part of PACT, which stands for Plastic Action, an initiative by WWF.
PACT is also supported by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and non-profit Zero Waste SG.
It aims to eliminate plastic waste in nature by 2030.
Businesses can help to achieve this goal by supporting projects which improve waste management, such as substituting plastics with more sustainable materials.
These 32 businesses (with over 270 outlets combined) have committed to PACT and pledged to go straw-free from July 1, 2019. They include various food chains and large hotel groups.
Here are some of those in the list and the number of outlets that are going straw-free:
- Pastamania (24 outlets)
- Nando's Singapore (8 outlets)
- SaladStop! (14 outlets)
- A Poke Theory (6 outlets)
- Grand Hyatt Singapore (8 outlets)
- Spa Esprit Group (15 outlets) — includes Tiong Bahru Bakery, Common Man Coffee Roasters and 40 Hands
- Wildlife Reserves Singapore (24 outlets)
Survey shows Singaporeans acknowledge that single-use plastics are bad
According to a 2018 study by social enterprise The Cyan Project, an estimated 2.2 million straws are used in Singapore every single day.
Despite straws being an everyday commodity, the study also revealed that 62 per cent of Singaporeans use plastic straws only when they purchase drinks.
According to the WWF, a previous YouGov survey found that 9 out of 10 people in Singapore recognise the environmental impact of single-use disposable plastics.
The same survey found that three-quarters of participants believed that the F&B sector is the biggest source of single-use plastics too.
This collective move to eliminate plastic straws is undoubtedly an impressive step forward for sustainability in Singapore.
But hopefully this is only the starting point, and F&B outlets can move on to phasing out other plastic items such as bottled water or plastic cutlery.
You can find out more about PACT here.
Top photo from Pastamania (Singapore) / FB and Pixabay