Marin IJ Editorial: Drake students take aim at plastic, one straw at a time

Members of Drake High School's Global Student Assembly hoist their glasses at Taco Jane's on Monday, March 23, 2015, in San Anselmo, Calif. Front row from left: Alexa Neely, Lily Farmer, Audrey Valerio, Maddy Cox. Back row: Alessia Potovsky, Beatrix Berry and Rylie Neely. The students have convinced several local restaurants to stop using environmentally unsound plastic straws, going with paper ones instead. (Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal) 

A group of environmentally conscious students at Sir Francis Drake High School is trying to make a difference, one plastic straw at a time.

They are trying to convince local restaurants to get rid of the plastic straws — and the oil consumption in making them and the space they take up in landfills and litter, on land and sea. They want to replace them with throw-back paper straws, which are more environmentally friendly.

Straws are taken for granted. Often they are plopped in our drinks, whether we ask for them or not.

Converting to paper straws is not going to end global warming, but it won’t hurt.

The students, members of the school’s Global Student Embassy, have been working with two Environmental Forum of Marin graduates, Michelle Cox and Heather Itzla, both of San Anselmo.

So far, they have convinced 10 San Anselmo restaurants to cut back on or eliminate plastic straws.

Their initiative has been a lesson for the students and for the community.

According to one local restaurateur, paper straws cost about 2 cents apiece, about double the cost of the plastic version. But maybe restaurants could save money by having to buy fewer straws by providing them upon request.

An explanation of why they are using paper instead of plastic is just another contribution to consumer awareness about protecting our environment.

Kara WoodringComment