Seattle Stops Plastic Straws

The Last (Single-Use) Straw

If you’ve gotten a drink in a forward-thinking Seattle bar lately, you may have noticed the lack of a straw in your drink. Or maybe you were served a nifty-looking paper slurper reminiscent of an old-time soda fountain. If you’d asked the bartender why she didn’t have a standard plastic straw around, she might’ve told you what the Seattle Aquarium, a straw-ban advocate, tells its guests: we’re getting ahead of the game by ditching straws now, because come July, they’ll be illegal.

Follow the Leader

Strawless in Seattle,” an industry-led push to comply with the new regs before they take effect, also aims to generate buzz and green cache for its participating businesses. After July, recyclable and compostable options will be the only options, and that’s a good thing for the planet, especially the oceans where most single-use plastics end up if they slip past the recycling bin. Those blue bins and their green compost cousins are ubiquitous in clean, green metros like the Emerald City. But if your business isn’t in such a cutting-edge location, you can still jump on the strawless trend and catch some of the buzz it’s generating.

Get Customers On Board

As everyone knows who’s ever gotten those puzzled looks across the counter, customers can be slow to change their habits. But tossing single-use straws doesn’t have to be an eye-roller for your patrons. Instead, you can swirl their drinks with new, eye-catching recyclable or compostable swizzles, and remind them with a smile that everything in their drink can go in the green bin—or in the blue recycle bin if they eat their olive or cherry!

Make Straw Recycling Easy and Fun

Eye-catching, peppy presentation of those earth-friendly bins is a must to entice customers to choose the right one. So deck your recycling bins with colorful signage, perhaps promoting your new straws with a catchy slogan. Finally, think about how customers flow through your space: make it easier to choose the compost or recycling bin than the garbage.

Remember, behaviors change when you make the right choice fun. You don’t have to deprive drinkers of their favorite way to slurp or stir a drink. Straws are excellent tools for getting the perfect taste and dilution, especially in layered concoctions like the tequila sunrise. So instead of tossing them entirely, make their transition to greener pastures a selling point. Combine peppy new recyclable straws with punchy new recycling bins, so your patrons—and the ocean—find the change refreshing.