Over 55 outlets “STOP SUCKING” in the Middle East

Twelve months on from the launch of the #stopsucking initiative with Freedom Pizza and marine conservation organization Azraq, 56 entities have now signed on to reduce single use plastic straws in the Middle East (that’s more than one entity a week!)

Branching out from Dubai into Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the #stopsucking hashtag has started popping up in the Middle East, following on from a similar campaign started in the United States.

Thirty outlets have decided not to provide plastic straws at all, instead ditching them all together or providing an alternative like stainless steel straws, paper, bamboo or pasta straws, while the other outlets have stated that they would only provide straws on request.

Marine Conservationist, Natalie Banks stated that there had become a movement that has been generated by individuals pushing back on single use plastic that is seeing outlets embrace the #stopsucking campaign.

“Single use plastic is getting a bad reputation due to the impacts these products have on the environment and we are starting to see some really innovative products come into the market as a result,” Ms Banks said.

“Alternatives such as those made from seaweed, corn starch and even wheat straws are making a trend, but a word of caution is that we must ensure that we have the adequate facilities to deal with these alternatives once they are used, otherwise we are just creating another issue.”

Cornstarch straws have been criticized for not being fully compostable without industrial composting at 60 degree heat for 90 days; a length of time most industrial composting facilities can not manage. In fact, cornstarch straws were banned from San Francisco despite their superior composting programs due to these concerns.

“As concerns with single use plastic grows, it is exciting to see some of the new initiatives, but a greater focus would be on ensuing that there are adequate waste facilities to handle the product,” Ms Banks said.

“As individuals, we can all ask ourselves if we in fact need a straw to begin with, as most of the time we don’t; it is just habit, while outlets can save money by only providing straws on request.”

To find out more about the #stopsucking campaign in the Middle East, visit https://azraqme.org/marine-debris/#stop-sucking