Opinion: Greene Turtle CEO says give up the straw, save a turtle – Baltimore Business Journal

All too frequently, we see news reports on the threats our marine life face from pollution and plastic waste products that end up in our Chesapeake Bay and, ultimately, in our oceans.

In an effort to help save and conserve marine life, the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille wanted to use our reach across our restaurants to make a positive difference. We spent time investigating this environmental issue and determining a way that we could become a part of the solution and also help raise awareness.

In 2017, we began our partnership with the Sea Turtle Conservancy, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Florida that is the world’s oldest sea turtle research and conservation organization. The mission of the STC is to ensure the survival of sea turtles worldwide through research, education, training, advocacy and protection of the natural habitats upon which they depend. Our partnership with the organization was aimed to help promote awareness about the different species of sea turtles and the various threats to their survival. 

As a company, we sponsored a green turtle in the 10th annual Tour de Turtles, a sea turtle migration marathon in July of 2017, and donated proceeds from the Greene Turtle’s signature drink, Hell in the Shell, to the Conservancy. The Tour de Turtles safely tracks wild female sea turtles during their annual migrations from selected nesting spots in Florida and the Caribbean to help raise awareness about threats to sea turtles and encourage positive stewardship of the ocean and coastal habitats.

As a company devoted to our fans, we decided to include them in the effort and let them help name the turtle through an online naming contest where the winner won a $500 prize.

We continued to brainstorm ways in which to continue our partnership with the STC and become a more environmentally friendly restaurant.

On May 23, World Turtle Day, the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille made the decision to go straw free. Over 500 million plastic straws are used each day in the United States.

By going straw free, the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille is saving over 7 million plastic straws from entering the ecosystem. Biodegradable straws, provided by Aardvark straws, are available for certain beverages and upon request in our restaurants.

In the past four months since we have decided to skip the straw, the positive reaction from our loyal customers has been heard loud and clear. Fans have spoken out to commend our steps taken to help protect the environment and we have become one of the local restaurants on the forefront of this new ecological trend.

I encourage everyone to help skip the straw and go green(e) to help our ecosystem.