Americans use over 500 million straws every single day with many of them finding their ways into rivers, lakes and oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which consists of mostly plastic, is now twice the size of the State of Texas and is growing each day. Aquatic animals like freshwater fish, sea turtles and birds eat the plastic, which can be fatal.
Dawn Hjelseth with green|spaces said, “Even though we are a long way from the Pacific Ocean, our habits locally not only have an impact there but also on our local rivers and lakes.
A straw may seem like a small item by itself but when you add up all of the straws we use each day, it equals filling over 46,000 large school buses. For the past 11 years, we have worked to promote sustainable living, working and building. We are excited to be partnering with Tennessee American Water to encourage 1000 residents to make simple changes to their daily habits like skipping the plastic straw.”
Tennessee American Water external affairs manager Daphne Kirksey said, “All of us can play a part in protecting one of our most important resources. We are happy to be working with green|spaces to promote awareness of how anyone can take action to reduce plastic use. If you take it step by step, I think you’ll find reducing plastic usage isn’t as hard as you thought. Every action helps, like skipping the straw or using a reusable straw.”
Starting Wednesday, residents of Chattanooga can take the “Skip the Straw” Pledge and receive a free reusable stainless steal straw from Tennessee American Water. The kickoff will be held at Green Drinks, an eco-networking event hosted by green|spaces. Through the months of October and November, residents can attend multiple events across the city or simply take the pledge online. The goal is to have at least 1000 people take the pledge by GivingTuesday on Nov. 27. “Giving Tuesday is more than just about people giving money to non-profits. We want people to think of other ways they can give including taking the pledge to reduce waste,” said Ms. Hjelseth.
People who take the pledge will not only receive the reusable straw but will also be provided monthly conservation tips along with “Perk Days”. Participants will be notified throughout the year of places they can show up with their straw to receive free items and be entered into giveaways.
Link to Pledge Webpage: http://www.greenspaceschattanooga.org/skip-the-straw