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Straws Suck!

Ban plastic straws in eating and drinking establishments in Sunnyvale

Photo of Kim Jelfs
19 14

Written by

How are you connected to Sunnyvale?

  • I live in Sunnyvale.

What type of applicant are you?

  • Community member

Stage of Development.

  • Early concept or idea (<few months of work)

What problem are you aiming to solve? (100 words)

The goal is to eliminate the amount of plastic pollution caused by single use straws, many of which end up littering our waterways, oceans and harming marinelife (Check out the Sea Turtle video).

Tell us more about your climate strategy or solution (500 words)

Plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans is killing marine life and seabirds. Plastic straws make the top 10 list of litter items found during International Coastal Cleanup Day. It's time to stop this problem at the source by eliminating single use plastic straws. Luckily there are many non-plastic alternatives, for those who really need a straw - We were inspired by this initiative

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (100 words)

500 million plastic straws are discarded in the U.S. every day. That is enough straw waste to wrap the circumference of the earth 2.5 times or to fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times in a year! By eliminating them we would save resources (materials needed for production) and energy (production, transportation) and reduce trash. Alternatives such as U.S. made paper or cardboard straws can be available for any customers who absolutely need them.

Explain how your idea would be implemented in Sunnyvale (700 words)

The first big step is for establishments NOT to automatically serve drinks with a straw in them. California's proposed bill 1844 would require that straws be served on request only, but it still allows the straws to be made of plastic. However, straws are just one part of the plastic problem - plastic cups, lids and cutlery should also be addressed. Many communities have shown environmental leadership with ordinances that ban not only plastic straws, but also require that all disposable food serviceware be either recyclable or certified compostable.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (500 words)

We can build on the work done by other cities (e.g. Carmel, Santa Cruz, Alameda) who have already passed ordinances that address plastic straws and disposable foodware. For more information, check out the draft of Berkeley's proposed ordinance:

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with our partners?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you came up with your idea.

Most of us don't use straws at home so why do we use them when we eat out? If you're looking for inspiration to give up your straw, check out the documentary "Straws" by Linda Booker

Evaluation results

13 evaluations so far

1. From a range of 1-5, how interested/compelled are you to bring this idea into your own life or into the city?

1 - Not Interested - 15.4%

2 - 0%

3 - 0%

4 - 15.4%

5 - Very interested - 69.2%

2. From a range of 1-5, does this idea provide benefits aside from reducing carbon emissions?

1 - Low co-benefits - 16.7%

2 - 8.3%

3 - 8.3%

4 - 8.3%

5 - High co-benefits - 58.3%

3. From a scale of 1-5, what do you feel is the feasibility of this idea to work well in Sunnyvale?

1 - Not feasible - 7.7%

2 - 15.4%

3 - 7.7%

4 - 0%

5 - Very feasible - 69.2%

4. From a range of 1-5, what is your hunch about how much this idea will cost the Sunnyvale community to implement properly?

1 - High cost to the community - 7.7%

2 - 7.7%

3 - 23.1%

4 - 23.1%

5 - Low cost to the community - 38.5%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mike

Don't take away the straws. I love straws. Straws have solved my drinking problem. Ice tea runs down my face and dribbles on my shirt when I don't use a straw. And yes, I do have and use straws at home. Don't take away my straws.

Photo of Kim Jelfs

Hi Mike,
thanks for the comment. The proposed ban is aimed at plastic straws since they are so harmful to the environment. Luckily there are many non-plastic alternatives for those who wish to keep their straw - check out:

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