BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– Every day, 500 million straws are used and thrown away in the U.S. One group wants to “Suck The Straws Out Of Boulder,” a movement that started with one restaurant on University Hill.
Tuesday, July 11 is straw-free day in Colorado. That’s also the day 7-Eleven gives out free Slurpees to customers. In an effort to cut down on the straws, the group has teamed up with Aardvark Straw Co. to hand out free paper straws outside the 7-Eleven on University Hill.
Toula Georgeakopoulas says she started the campaign after watching a YouTube video of a cocktail straw being removed from a sea turtle’s nostril.
“Broke out hearts and we decided, ‘You know what? We’re going to do our part in our restaurant and no straws,” said Georgeakopoulas. “Not ban them altogether, just not hand them out freely.”
She placed table tents on all the tables of her restaurant, Taco Junky, on Boulder’s University Hill. The tents explain the business’s policy on straws.
“Nine out of 10 times when we explain to people, people won’t take the straw,” said Georgeakopoulas. “Actually, they say ‘Thank you’ too.”
She added the restaurant has switched to compostable straws, “We give customers straws, they just have to ask for them.”
In one year, Taco Junky has used 79,000 fewer straws. Georgeakopoulas then convinced her neighboring businesses to join her, making it the first business district in the country to encourage customers to go strawless.
Now, she’s taking her campaign citywide with “Suck The Straws Out Of Boulder.”
“We’re just a grassroots organization that wants to create awareness. And the one thing that we’re asking is ‘No Straw, Please.'”
She says some of her customers even bring their own reusable straws when they visit the restaurant.
In addition to Taco Junky, Colorado Ocean Coalition, Shared Paths Boulder and more are part of the straw-free campaign.