Welcome to The Final Straw Solent. We are a group of people from all walks of life, who have come together as a community to minimise the amount of plastic entering our local seas. One of the biggest problems is single-use straws, plastic bags and plastic packaging. We started in Emsworth, Hampshire in 2018 with an aim to make Emsworth and, in time, the surrounding areas, a place where giving out and using plastic straws is not the norm. We are encouraging local businesses to switch to paper straws and paper or reusable fabric bags. Looking for suppliers? Find some suggestions here.
The UK and USA throw away 550 million plastic straws A DAY. These straws are, on average, used for 20 minutes before they are tossed in a bin (or, unfortunately, on the floor). It is estimated that a straw will take over 200 years to break down – that straw you used last week will be around long after you are! And before they start to break down, they can pose a threat to wildlife (for example, this turtle video is upsetting viewing). When the plastic eventually starts to break down, it becomes tiny bits of microplastic that can be eaten by marine animals. There is some evidence these microplastics have entered our food chain. And plastic acts like a magnet for chemicals, it adsorbs and holds them so that if they are ingested they cause even more problems as the chemicals are released.
It can all feel a bit overwhelming, so we have decided that we need to focus on the small things we can do to make changes.
REFUSE STRAWS. Most people do not need a straw, and if you do then why not use a paper straw or reusable metal one. If you are offered a straw in a cafe, bar or restaurant, just say ‘no thanks!’.
USE REUSABLE BAGS. Plastic bags are not very strong anyway and can get blown into the countryside, waterways or the sea so easily. There are loads of interesting, cool, fun or pretty reusable fabric shopping bags around, so why not take one of those with you every time you go shopping, rather than asking for a plastic one?
Simply, if it’s plastic or wrapped in plastic, think about viable alternatives. Refuse that straw and any other unnecessary plastic, spread the word and help save our planet!