Project Title: Introducing a Straw-On-Demand Program in Florida Coastal Restaurants
Project Manager: Stacey Marquis
Organization: Sea Turtle Conservancy (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $13,500.00
Summary: To address the mounting impact of marine debris on sea turtles, STC will conduct a far-reaching, year-long conservation stewardship campaign that will reduce plastic waste produced by restaurants and change ingrained behaviors among Floridians to slow the flood of single-use plastics. STC will work with at least 50 restaurants along the east coast of Florida to adopt a straw-on-demand policy, through which straws are only offered to customers upon request, with an emphasis placed on replacing plastic straws with paper options. STC will provide signage that can be displayed strategically in the restaurant and biodegradable coasters for tables that explain the policy to customers. These materials will help to ensure that guests will be exposed to this conservation message and will encourage them to learn more about marine debris and how they can change their behavior. To further educate the public about this program, STC will create a page on its website that will explain what the straw-on-demand program is, how customers can get their local restaurants involved, and give recognition to restaurants participating in the program. Plastic straws are considered a gateway plastic, meaning that once a person finds an alternative to using plastic straws, he or she may rethink using other single-use plastics. STC will work to reduce the amount of plastic that can end up on important Florida sea turtle habitat, save restaurants money, and empower Floridians to start by making small behavioral changes to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment.