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San Anselmo High School Students Urge Restaurants To Stop Using Plastic Straws

Kara Fiechter

Plastic straws picked up from the beaches in Bolinas over the span of a week in January 2015. (Photo Credit: Heather Itzla)

SAN ANSELMO (CBS SF) – A group of 16 teens from Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo have the environment in mind when it comes to a campaign they are taking part in called “Straws Upon Request.”

The students, all Global Student Embassy club members at the school, have partnered with 16 restaurants in the city in an effort to convince them to only serve straws upon request. The hope is that restaurants can replace disposable plastic straws that have become the norm with compostable paper straws that the group said work just as well.

“Growing up in Southern California, I remember the straws at In-N-Out were paper. If you left them in your soda too long, they unraveled. Today’s restaurant grade paper straw is stronger,” said the group’s website.  Organizers cite a recent study that showed more than 5 trillion plastic pieces afloat in the world’s oceans.

The Marin Independent Journal reports, the project came about when Michelle Cox and Heather Itzla of San Anselmo, members of the Environmental Forum of Marin, learned that the students were looking for an environmentally-oriented project. “We were interested in eliminating plastic straws in San Anselmo restaurants, so we enlisted them,” Itzla told the newspaper.

The two latest restaurants to join the effort are Cucina Restaurant and Wine Bar and Taco Jane’s. “It’s a win-win,” Matteo Boussina, owner of Taco Jane’s told the Marin IJ. He said along with helping the environment, it might also save him some money as well.

“We want San Anselmo to be waste-free by 2020,” student Alessia Potovsky said. “We want to be one of the first cities in California to achieve that goal.”

Global Student Embassy’s mission is to develop community leaders through action oriented environmental education.