Less plastic, more earth, makes a difference
The deterioration of coral reefs, partly caused by single-use plastics not being recycled properly, has started a movement that has reached Toledo that some hope will change the way we go about our daily lives.
Starts with a passion
Kaitlin Plate, a local woman determined to make a difference in saving our planet’s marine habitat, started a movement known as Withdraw The Straw. She discovered her passion as a scuba diver volunteering at the Toledo Zoo doing dive shows, feeding fish and talking to the guests and visitors about marine life. “It’s a good movement to help the planet. Similar movements have been taking place worldwide but we needed to bring it to the Toledo area to do our part in helping.” said Plate.
Shortly after deciding to pursue her vision, she teamed up with Alex Goetz, a videographer who has also done work for National Geographic and the Toledo Zoo, and Rae Betz a local graphic designer, integral players in the effort to bring awareness to our area.
Even though recycling efforts have increased over the last few decades, most people are unaware that not everything that goes into a recycling bin actually gets recycled. Ms. Plate stated “ Only 2% of what makes it into a plastic recycling bin is recycled into equal quality material.” A December 20th, 2018 National Geographic article states “91% of all plastics produced are not recycled”. A May 29th, 2018 New York Times article quotes a Waste Management company executive stating, “Approximately 25% of all recycling picked up by Waste Management is contaminated to the point that it is sent to landfills.”
Plate believes Toledo can be part of the solution and devised Withdraw The Straw to bring awareness to the problem of single-use plastic straws. She has started a straw reduction movement and suggests that there are more eco-friendly alternatives to the plastic straw, with an end goal “to change the culture for single-use plastics.”
An easy way to be part of the solution is to purchase paper, stainless steel or even glass straws. Plate also suggests hay straws, made of wheat and compostable materials, which are available online.
It takes a village
Withdraw The Straw teamed up with seventeen local restaurants, coffee shops, and businesses in a week-long straw reduction challenge. Katelyn Engel of Maddie & Bella Coffee Roasters said “The reception from customers went really well, only a couple people were thrown off and we were pleased with how many people were appreciative and wanted to learn more.” In an effort to continue this eco-friendly cultural change, Maddie & Bella Coffee Roasters are now selling stainless steel and glass straws at their locations. Gathered Glass, located in Toledo, also has glass straws for purchase, and stainless steel straws are available across the area.
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