Norwich bar owners prepare to ditch plastic straws to protect the planet

Bar owners get together with biodegradable straws as they encourage bars and restaurants to take par

Bar owners get together with biodegradable straws as they encourage bars and restaurants to take part in their Last Straw campaign. Benjamin Thompson, left, from the Plasterers; Ella Williams and James Wingfield, right, from North and Frank's Bar; and Mike Baxter from Gonzo's Tea Room. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Bar owners in Norwich are hoping to encourage drinkers and fellow publicans to ditch plastic straws in a bid to protect the planet.

The Last Plastic Straw campaign has travelled across the globe, with bars and restaurants around the world either only providing straws on request, swapping plastic for reusable material or scrapping them entirely.

Now, the campaign has reached Norwich, with Mike Baxter, of Gonzo's Team Room, Ben Thompson, landlord of the Plasterers Arms, and James Wingfield and Ella Williams, of North and Frank's Bar, calling on customers to get on board.

They have sourced biodegradable alternatives and have convinced major wholesalers to stock them nationwide - but need more venues to sign up to the cause.

Mr Thompson said: 'It's hugely wasteful, straws don't biodegrade and generally speaking people don't use them anyway so it's really pointless.

Bar owners get together to say No to plastic straws as they encourage bars and restaurants to take p

Bar owners get together to say No to plastic straws as they encourage bars and restaurants to take part in their Last Straw campaign. Benjamin Thompson, left, from the Plasterers; Ella Williams and James Wingfield, from North and Frank's Bar; and Mike Baxter, right, from Gonzo's Tea Room. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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'Every single straw that you've ever been given in a drink still exists somewhere in the world, and these are things that just contribute to huge piles of waste that just float about in the middle of the ocean.'

In America alone, 500m

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plastic straws are used every day, most of which end up in our oceans, affecting wildlife and plants.

There have been calls to introduce a 5p charge for plastic straws, similar to the one introduced for plastic bags in 2015.

Mr Baxter described the campaign as 'the right thing to do' and said, even as a smaller venue, his bin bags were often packed with straws at the end of the night.

He challenged bigger venues to get involved - and said, aside from the clear environmental benefit, there was a strong business case as well.

'I realised if we do it we can actually save money while doing right by the environment - it would be naive to do anything else,' he said.

'You're looking at straws and they cost a couple of quid per pack and you're using 10, 20, 30 packs per week.'

For more information and to get involved, click here.

• Do you have a story we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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