The Last Straw: sign the pledge

Help us make this #TheLastStraw

You’ve probably already heard that many bars and restaurants are joining the global movement to eliminate plastic drinking straws from our landfills, streams, oceans and beaches. NUS has launched #TheLastStraw – a campaign to stop the unneccessary use of single-use plastic straws in our students’ unions and beyond and here’s how you can help…

The Last Straw Marine Life 640

Before reading on, please note that many disabled students need a bendy plastic straw in order to independently consume fluids. If you work in a students' union, please ensure that you have a stock of bendy plastic single use straws behind the bar, so that if requested, they can be given to those that need them. We advise putting a sign up on the bar to make sure that disabled students know that they are available. Do not attempt to police who has access to plastic straws. Removing access to plastic straws may make you liable under the Equality Act 2010.

The problem with straws

  • 500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone – that’s 175 billion a year filtering into landfills and littering our waterways and oceans

  • They are used for an average of 20 minutes, but their effect lasts a lifetime.  Extreme waste for minimal convenience!

  • Thousands of seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles die every year when they ingest or get entangled in plastic pollution – 80% of which comes from the land! 

How can you help?

  • Request ‘no straw’ when visiting bars and restaurants

  • Help us spread the word by sharing the graphics below on Twitter using #TheLastStraw. Remember to include @NUSUK and we’ll do our best to retweet!

  • If you need to use a straw…there’s lots of compostable or reusable options on the market as an alternative to single-use plastic products.  Next time you go for a drink, why not use your own paper, glass, bamboo or stainless steel straw – there’s lots of choices available

  • If you're a staff member in a students' union, remember there may be instances where you need to stock plastic straws i.e. some disabled customers may require them, so just try and ensure these are recycled responsibly.

  • See if there are local environmental organisations that you can work in partnership with.  The Students' Union at Bournemouth University is a great example where a team of student volunteers (The Green Taskforce) and VP Education Alex Hancox, will be working with Litter Free Coast & Sea next year to lobby the 18 kiosks and food outlets on Bournemouth beach-front, to ask them to change their single use vending plastics.

  • Sign the pledge to show you’re supporting #TheLastStraw

Visit #TheLastStraw page to see which students' unions have already signed the pledge

As students, you have the power to drive meaningful change. Phasing out single-use plastics where possible in our day-to-day lives by considering the impact on the environment items such as straws, plastic bottles and bags have is the first step.

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The Final Straw

The Final Straw

Click here to find out more from the sustainability team at NUS and to join our sustainability mailing list.