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Straw Free September Challenges Local Restaurants to Go Strawless

COMMUNITY CENTERClean CommunitiesClean Water & WaterwaysRecycling & ReusingSep 9, 2019Rebekah Eastep

Author: Rebekah Eastep and Keep It Beachy Clean continue to challenge local restaurants to reduce single use plastics and prevent plastic pollution by going strawless. Earlier in 2019, we asked local eateries to go strawless for Earth Day. Over 65 establishments were on board with the effort, choosing to make straws available upon request only. This September, we’d like to see more restaurants join the movement and make a long term commitment to straws on request.

September is a great time to talk again about single use plastics and ocean pollution. Each fall, the Ocean Conservancy hosts the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). The ICC is a season of cleaning from September to October where volunteers clean mile upon mile of coastline, removing harmful litter from local waterways. The Ocean Conservancy reports that more than 3.6 million plastic straws and stirrers, over 3,000 straws and stirrers in Virginia alone, were found as litter during the ICC cleanups last fall. This was the third most common item behind cigarette butts (5.7 million) and food wrappers (3.7 million). The 2019 ICC is set to kick off on September 21 and we want Hampton Roads restaurants to make a statement by once again going straw free.

This September and beyond, and Keep It Beachy Clean will support Hampton Roads restaurants that want to go straw free. Interested restaurants can sign up online for assistance. Participating restaurants will receive free resources such as table tents, window clings, menu cards, kids’ placemats, and a sample of paper straws. In return, your waitstaff simply needs to ask customers if they would like a straw instead of providing one out of habit. That’s all it takes. Small changes do make a difference and restaurants can make a measurable change in the amount of waste we generate with this one simple policy.

Not a restaurant owner? Here’s how you can help:

  • Spread the word. Talk with the manager at your favorite pizza shop or burger joint. Let them know about Straw Free Hampton Roads and the available resources.
  • Pledge to go straw free. Sign the Straw Free Hampton Roads pledge and commit to going straw free yourself.
  • Announce your preference. When ordering drinks at your favorite restaurants, ask for “No Straw” and remind the server again when the drinks arrive.
  • Invest in a reusable straw. Many people actually need a straw or feel very strongly about using one. If that’s you, invest in a high quality bamboo, metal, or silicone reusable straw (and remember to carry it with you).
  • Show some love. Frequent restaurants with a s”traws on request” policy.
  • Team Up 2 Clean Up. Hit the streets and help remove litter from our landscape. Cleanups are happening all across Hampton Roads this fall, find one near you!

We hope each person will do their part to join us for a Straw Free September!

For questions or more information about Straw Free Hampton Roads, send emails to