Ditch the straw, save the earth

Lexi Wojcik, student

#RefusePlasticStraws, #LastPlasticStraw and #NoStrawPlease are all sustainability movements to help protect our oceans from the harm of plastic straws.

UW Oshkosh has a focus on sustainability but is not participating in the movement to reduce the use of plastic straws! Baskets of straws, jars of straws and straw dispensers are clearly on display and easy to use on campus.

In hopes of reducing the amount of plastic straws used on campus, I went to Blackhawk to Go, Reeve Union and Scotty’s and asked them to put the straws somewhere where people would need to ask for a straw if they wanted one. This would help prevent people from needlessly using a straw and help people think about if they really needed a straw. If they really did need a straw, they would have to ask for one.

At 2Go@BHC and Reeve, the worker that I spoke with said they would talk to their manager or supervisor, but I have gone back and seen no change.

That’s much better, however, than the experience I had at Scotty’s. I asked the cashier if it was possible to put the straws behind the counter so that people would have to ask for them in order to get one. I explained to her movements like #LastPlasticStraw are seeking to end the use of plastic straws to benefit the environment.

The employee understood why I wanted the straws moved and said she would ask her manager. While I waited, I saw two people grab a straw out of the jar by the soda machine. When the employee came back, she explained that they wouldn’t put the straws behind the counter because the manager did not believe that it was a big deal and people weren’t using that many straws.

While this was very frustrating, I left because there was no way for me to force food services to put the straws behind the counter. Even if campus food services won’t put straws behind the counter, we can all take part in helping the environment and stop using plastic straws.

Don’t use a straw at all or use a reusable straw and let’s take steps to promote sustainability on the UWO campus.