Greensboro City Council declares ‘No Straw November’

GREENSBORO — In an effort to encourage local residents and businesses to limit the use of single-use plastics, Greensboro City Council has declared this month No Straw November.

Organizations can pledge to reduce their use of plastic straws at www.greensboro-nc.gov/NoStrawNov. Residents also are invited to a free screening of the documentary, “Straws,”  at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St.

Plastic waste is directly connected to the water quality and biological health in streams, the city said in a news release. Small single-use plastics, like straws, can pollute streams and waterways.

To reduce plastic waste and conserve the health of local waterways, Greensboro’s Field Operations and Water Resources departments are partnering in the first No Straw November.

“We hope that residents and businesses will reduce their plastic straw use. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 500 million straws are discarded every day. That’s enough to wrap around the world twice,” McKenzie Winslow, a water quality specialist with Water Resources, said in the news release. “Think about all that ending up in our local drinking water, streams, recreation areas, and our oceans.”

Laine Roberts, Greensboro’s recycling educator, said plastic straws cannot be recycled because of their small size and the low quality of plastic used. Single-use plastic breaks down into small pieces called microplastics, which are increasingly showing up in drinking water and the tissues of aquatic animals, with potentially dangerous human and environmental health impacts.

“Even if plastic isn’t visible to the naked eye, its environmental legacy lasts forever,” Roberts said in the release.

The council is encouraging businesses and restaurants to provide straws only upon request and to seek reusable alternatives to plastic straws.

Residents are encouraged to refuse plastic straws when they are unwanted and encourage local businesses to minimize plastic straw waste.

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