The Sunshine City’s business community has shown an overwhelming commitment to turning the tide on single use plastic pollution along our coast, and it’s working. With the support of Bank OZK, the No Straws St. Pete movement has reached over 100 partners and locations, all taking the simple act of making plastic straws available on request– we’re experiencing the impact in real time.
“We saw an immediate reduction in use of 70%,” said Mario Farias, a partner with the newly opened Callaloo at the Manhattan Casino on 22nd Street.
Near and far, across St. Pete and Tampa Bay, serial restauranteurs including Steve Westphal and major hospitality groups such as Ciccio Group’s Better Byrd and Ciccio Cali have stood up alongside neighborhood favorites that include Jacks London Grill and Fishtails Seafood & Steakhouse. And while our No Straws St. Pete campaign hasn’t officially spread across the bridge, the movement has with South Tampa’s iconic Bella’s Italian Cafe jumping on board after hearing the news from the Burg.
The greatest thing about this effort for me personally has been watching our partners realize the impact their having. The reduction was not only immediate, it grew even more-so as our message spread. Ichicoro Ane and Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant have both said they’re maybe using 10% of their plastic straw stock, if that.
Partners including The Galley and Black Crow are trying alternatives such as paper while others are looking at reusable options including the “lifetime warranty” glass straws Kahwa Coffee is selling, across all 13 locations. Nationwide, other attractive alternatives, like this recent Kickstarter which raised over $1 million under a month, are gaining traction too.
Renaud Cowez of Tryst, says the results have been so encouraging, his team is going in so far as to create cocktails meant to be enjoyed without a straw, specifically.
If you consider the fact that Americans are said to user over 500 million plastic straws daily, the impact just in St. Pete is already nearing the thousands, if not more. And our partners are not only feeling the effect of their successful business-driven approach, they may be leading the conversation about greater solutions towards single use plastics which, are quite frankly, killing our oceans.
With the evidence clear, I hope other hospitality leaders will join our effort to act local, but think global. Please visit nostrawsstpete.com.