PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio — Absolut Vodka and Malibu Rum have given $5,000 to the Lake Erie Foundation, after a campaign to eliminate plastic straws saved 300,000 from the Put-in-Bay trash this summer.
And the I-X Center is going strawless during the NARI Home Improvement Show and Cleveland Boat Show Jan. 17-21. The center will give biodegradable lids and biodegradable straws to patrons who need them.
“I thought it was important to bring the issue to the IX Center and they were completely supportive,” said Michelle Burke, executive director of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, which presents the boat show.
Straws, along with plastic cigar tips, are among the most prolific and pervasive pieces of plastic in the Great Lakes.
Together, the United States and Canada discard 22 million pounds of plastic into Great Lakes waters, according to a Rochester Institute of Technology study. Much of it comes flushed from streets, through storm drains and into the lake. Then it washes up on shore, making up about 80 percent of the litter on beaches.
Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits led the effort at Put-in-Bay and in Cleveland’s Flats.
Roundhouse Bar in Put-in-Bay didn’t give out straws with drinks, unless customers asked. Then, they gave paper straws. Other businesses also embraced the effort, which reduced their straw use by 80 percent, said Steve Tedeschi of Southern Glazer’s.
They are working with the Great Lakes Alliance to target Michigan businesses next summer and hope to expand throughout the Great Lakes, Tedeschi said.
Cleveland’s Market Garden Brewery, along with its four sister bars and restaurants, began to skip on all single-use plastics late last year. Guests only receive straws if they ask for one or with certain cocktails. They then receive a paper straw.
Grilled cheese restaurant Melt also urges guests to skip the straw.