Just say no to straws?

Island educates public on eco-friendly alternatives to plastic

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — It’s been two years since members of the Parks and Keep South Padre Island Beautiful Committee created its Skip the Straw Campaign.

It’s an effort to educate businesses of the harmful effects plastic straws have on marine life and the environment.

According to Environmental Health Director Victor Baldovinos, the committee began its campaign after seeing a cringe-inducing viral video of researchers removing a plastic straw stuck in a sea turtle’s nose.

City officials said they are seeking voluntary participation from businesses on the Island.

The city has been promoting educational dispensers along with paper straws at restaurants in an effort to get more people to switch from plastic to paper as an alternative use.

Although the city does not have an ordinance to prohibit plastic straws, many businesses have gotten on board with the campaign and have begun using paper, stainless steel straws or biodegradable straws.

Last year, Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill began using biodegradable straws.

“Because we’re right on the beach, we’re trying to do everything we can to preserve the environment and wildlife by trying to educate the public as much as we can in picking up their trash, said Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill owner Clayton Brashear. “We did a little test run on some paper straws, but it didn’t last. People said the straws stuck to their lips and that the straws collapsed. So we feel that these biodegradable straws are the best thing at the moment.”

Baldovinos said something as simple as asking customers if they want a straw goes a long way in helping protect marine life and the environment.

“We’re a sandbar and at the end of the day, we know that our effects will have other effects for generations to come. So we’re trying to do our part to literally protect our environment,” he said. “Its one little thing that we can do that hopefully will have a big impact with not only the people that visit the Island, but with future generations.”

Did you know?

• Every day humans use more than 500 million plastic straws.

• One plastic straw takes 100 to 350 years to deteriorate.

• The average use of a straw is 30 to 45 minutes.

• By 2050, it is estimated there will be more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish.

Courtesy: City of South Padre Island Skip the Straw Campaign and the Strawless Ocean program

City of South Padre Island Environmental Health Services Department green events and programs

• Weekly recycling program

• Republic Services door-side recycling program

• Christmas tree recycling

• Recycle Land event

• Earth Day E-Waste Collection event

• Phone book recycling

• Recycling bins at public buildings

• Bottle cap recycling

• Recycling club started at Point Isabel Independent School District campuses

• Light bulbs change outs to LED in City Hall

• Free transit

• LEED Building Multi-Modal

• Underground drip for irrigation on Gulf

• Recycling for City Hall

• Light bulbs in medians/Retrofit for LED