Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of questions we are being asked by people interested in joining our campaign. We have put together some answers which will hopefully help you make the decision to stop using plastic, compostable or biodegradable straws. No straws is the best option with a supply of paper ones as a back up. You will use far less straws by not just popping them into every cold drink you serve, save money and feel good about helping to keep our beaches clean. What are you waiting for? Sign up today…

Why are plastic straws such a problem?

They don’t biodegrade, so they cause a tonne of problems to all sorts of animals as they try to eat them or get caught up in them; they leach toxic chemicals into the ground, and if they are incinerated they release harmful toxins polluting the air. We reckon that’s enough reasons…!

Can they be recycled?

Officially yes unless they are black. Unfortunately as they are so small and lightweight they frequently drop through the sorting screens, contaminate other recycling and are scattered by the wind to become litter. So the best thing by a country mile is to avoid them. The risk of them causing damage then goes down to zero.

Why can’t I use biodegradable or compostable straws?

You can if you want but if they are not going to be composted, they will be just as much of a problem as Plastic ones. They don’t magically break down into fairy dust once they’re collected and dumped in a plastic bag for the rubbish collection. They just become more rubbish. In order to compost, they need to be put in a compost bin where the conditions are just right (air, water, heat, microbes.) . This definitely doesn’t happen in sea water, it is too cold. So if you don’t know for sure and certain that they’re going to be composted – they probably aren’t. The answer? #justsayno.

How do plastic straws get into the Ocean?

They get everywhere. We’ve all seen them around where they shouldn’t be. They’re super lightweight so if dropped by humans or blown from overflowing rubbish bins or landfill sites become litter which ends up in drains, streams and rivers eventually washing out to sea or just blown by the wind, and causing pollution. They’re consistently in the top ten items littering our beaches and roadsides. Plastic re-offenders.

What happens when they get into the sea?

All plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller particles known as microplastics (ie they don’t ever biodegrade, as such, which only natural materials can do, like paper) which causes a huge problem as they are then eaten by sea beasts and birds – which causes a 50% mortality rate. 50%! Not worth a straw in our cocktails we reckon…

Why should I be bothered about plastic in the sea when I live miles away from it?

Good question. Plastic particles are now regularly found in the fish and shellfish we eat, so some toxic chemicals are entering the human food chain with health implications. And we all like to visit the sea if we can…we hope it’s going to be unpolluted when we do…

What are plastic straws made from?

Polypropylene which is derived from oil, a finite fossil fuel. Colourants, plasticisers, antioxidants and UV filters are added and they are usually packaged in plastic wrap. Plasticfest. Nightmare. There’s very little good about them, come to think of it…

What can I do if my drink is served with a plastic straw or stirrer?

Ask the waiter/barman to remove the straw and say why.They only need a minority of customers doing that before theystart taking notice. If more customers refuse straws hospitality businesses will start to take notice and stop serving them. Tell them about our Final Straw Cornwall campaign and ask them to sign up on the website and be counted so we can achieve our aim to make Cornwall the first plastic free county in the UK.

How long does it take a plastic straw to decompose?

Remember plastic doesn’t decompose. It just breaks down into really small bits of plastic. Which end up in the beasts and birds, and then in us.

How many straws are used per day?

A difficult question worldwide as no statistics exist. USA alone accounts for 500million a day which end to end would circle the world 1.5 times. If your brain needs a picture of that, enough to fill 127 double decker buses. It is estimated that one rubbish truck full per minute reaches the sea, equal to 8 million tonnes of the pesky plastic blighters per year. A year! Just in Cornwall we’re seeing dozens of bags of plastic rubbish being collected in just a few hours of a beach clean effort…and you know they’re going to include far too many straws…

What is single use plastic?

Single use is just that. It’s just used once. It means it’s “disposable”. Disposable plastic is used only once often for as little as 20 minutes before being thrown away. Items include such items as straws, takeaway coffee cups, cotton buds, plastic bags, plastic water bottles and most food packaging. We need to break this plastic habit!

Why should I care about the World’s Oceans?

Oceans are the largest ecosystems on earth, the Earth’s support system. They generate half the oxygen you breathe.That’s quite a good reason… plus at any given moment more than 97% of the Earth’s water resides in Oceans. Oceans provide 1/6 of the animal protein people eat. They are the source of many new medicines to combat disease. Living oceans absorb harmful CO2 from the atmosphere and reduce the impact of climate change. ‘Nuff said…

What can I do to help?

  • Refuse straws when offered and ask businesses not to offer them and keep some paper ones for people with medical problems who require them to drink.
  • Only buy paper ones for parties. And then compost them. Straight in your compost bin. If you haven’t got a compost bin, add them to your cardboard recycling. That way you keep them in the loop. And stop them becoming part of the plastics pollution problem.
  • Write or email larger national companies to ask them to think about changing to paper straws.
  • Contact those bars and cafes in your own town, say you’re a customer, and that you’re looking for places to frequent with your mates that don’t sell the little horrors.
  • Ask your Councillor and MP to support plastic reduction initiatives
  • Join our volunteer group and donate some time to visit bars /cafes/pubs /restaurants in your area.We have a letter to help you introduce our campaign ,we just ask that you keep a list of visits you have made, contact details and outcomes which are fed back to us. We need this information to monitor the success of the campaign and ensure visits aren’t being replicated.

What are the alternatives to plastic straws for people who need a straw to drink?

There are many reusable straws on the market- cardboard, bamboo, glass and stainless steel, all of which you can be carried with you, washed and reused.