City of Sydney has beefed up its fight against single-use plastic. Last week it launched a campaign in support of phasing out single-use plastic straws, which Aussies currently go through at a rate of around 10 million each day. Spearheaded by Deputy Lord Mayor and Deputy Chair of the Environmental Committee Jess Miller, the #SydneyDoesntSuck initiative throws its support behind venues taking positive action.
The campaign identifies local bars and pubs that are ditching plastic straws, with punters able to search like-minded venues using the hashtag on social. It's operating alongside another initiative dubbed The Last Straw, which has set out to end the use of plastic straws in Australia, through its own extensive venue list published online.
As part of the campaign, a new #SydneyDoesntSuck ad has been launched, which shows a patron at a bar asking for a straw in his drink, causing the whole room to stop and stare in silence. The guy pretty quickly caves in to the pressure, finishing with "Actually, I don't need a straw". The light-hearted video features local DJ Joyride in the role of bartender, plus cameo appearances by a bunch of Sydney bartending legends.
Cr Miller's main aim for the campaign is to raise consciousness about our plastic use, especially within the entertainment and nightlife industries. "It's about looking to reduce single-use plastic straws in particular, because they're kind of like a gateway recyclability drug," Cr Miller told Concrete Playground. "But it also encourages venues to look at their broader operations."
"It's not a full ban, it's not about saying 'we're not doing this', because some people will continue to need straws," Cr Miller said. "It's about the fact that the proliferation of straws we have is just way too much."
The Sydney Opera house — including all of its on-site restaurants, such as Solotel's Opera Bar and Fink Group's Bennelong — is the latest organisation to join the #SydneyDoesntSuck campaign, pledging to be plastic straw-free by August 1, 2018. Solotel co-owner Matt Moran said in a statement that the ban at Opera Bar alone will prevent 1.3 million straws a year appearing in landfill.
The movement has scored plenty of support on environmental grounds, though as highlighted by the ABC recently, it also has potential to marginalise disabled members of the community. A number of Aussies with disabilities rely on straws to eat and drink, and reusable versions aren't always an alternative.
To find out what venues in your area are plastic straw-free, search #SydneyDoesntSuck on social media or head to The Last Straw website.
Top image: Matt Moran and Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Miller