Do you really need the plastic spoons and straws handed out to you by convenience stores?
By Green Pattaya
In Thailand about 2 million straws are dispensed every day from 7-Eleven stores alone. That is about 400km of plastic which is enough to circle the island of Koh Pha Ngan 10 times! Add in the other outlets, shops and supermarkets and that probably adds up to 2000km a day: about the distance from Chiang Rai to Phuket!
Green Pattaya simply asks all retailers big or small, as a first step, to stop handing out plastic straws gratuitously. Can we experiment with the idea of letting customers help themselves? If a customer buys a drink let him or her choose whether or not to take a straw.
Why don't we simply say no when offered straws?
The straws will be here for 100 years and even when broken down are eaten by animals and fish which if not killed by the plastic itself, can be poisoned or even get cancer as a result of consuming them. Also the major problem with plastic is its capacity to “travel” as it is lightweight. It floats, can travel great distances and as such can even end up in turtles' nostrils.
Green Pattaya have now been cleaning Pattaya for 4 years with over 60 cleanings and during that time have found that most of the straws the volunteers pick up are unused and wrapped, whether distributed separately or pre-attached to cartons. So what that tells us is that customers are simply not telling the staff at the tills that they do not need a straw, rather letting them automatically put the purchase in a plastic bag with a plastic straw that will then be thrown away.
And what about plastic bags? Many countries are now charging for plastic/carrier bags to encourage people to take a bag for life for their shopping and simply think before they take a bag as to whether they definitely need it. In Thailand it is estimated that there are 10 million customers a day throughout the 7/11 stores alone and if they all take at least one bag that equates to a combined area the surface of more than 100 football fields every day!
So the message is clear Stop Think Refuse!
If you don't need a straw or plastic bag don't take one.
Why not use social media to try to push our message all the way to 7-Eleven’s headquarters.
That’s what we’ve decided to do: Starting from now, every time we get plastic from 7-Eleven we’ll send a tweet like this one:
We’ll use the hashtag #7Elevenlovesplastic and, of course, we’ll tag @7eleven and @7ElevenThailand
It’s not much, but like any action it could change things if many people decide to follow. It’s an important fight. It’s not even a question. It’s already too late to ask yourself if you should do something about plastic waste. Action is needed now and as a customer we have the power to change things!
Let’s keep our planet clean together!
Green Pattaya is a Rotary project under Rotary Eclub of the Carolinas it is under the process to become a registered Charity in Thailand.