THE days of plastic straws in WA could be numbered, if conservationists and cafe owners have their way.
But local councils and the WA Government have stopped short of supporting a plastic straw ban — though they are urging cafes, restaurants, bars and fast-food outlets to use environmentally friendly alternatives like paper straws or reusable bamboo and stainless-steel straws.
WA has embraced a war on waste, with a record high volume of rubbish being recycled and a plastic bag ban due this year.
Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen said a ban on single-use plastic straws should be next, unless they are used for medical, health, policing or security purposes.
“Plastic straws are a real scourge on our environment, and are particularly bad for marine life,” he said.
“If people still want straws for non-essential purposes, there are more sustainable options available such as bamboo, stainless steel and paper straws.”
Some WA businesses are leading the anti-straw campaign, such as Mosman Park fishing-themed bar Rodney’s Bait ’n Tackle.
Owners Nathan Nisbet and Scott Kociuruba now serve some cocktails, including their trademark Cottesloe Sunset, with a reusable bamboo straw. Other drinks are served without a straw, but paper straws are available on a self-serve basis if customers want one.
The pair said other business owners should be doing the same and they agreed plastic straws should be banned, saying the single-use plastic was an unnecessary burden on the environment.
“We decided to stop putting plastic straws in drinks and, if the customer wants a straw, they can help themselves to a paper one,” Mr Nisbet said.
City of Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt stopped short of supporting a ban but said he welcomed the debate.
“We need to continue the discussion about reducing plastic waste and that includes straws. I don’t see why we can’t go back to the old paper straws, or some of these alternatives that give customers and businesses another option,” he said.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the State Government had “no plans” to legislate a Statewide ban on plastic straws, though he said he “supports efforts to raise public awareness of the unintended consequences of supplying them”.
Mr Dawson said plastic waste was being tackled in WA with a container deposit scheme being designed now, a plastic bag ban due from July 1, and work under way on a voluntary phase-out of polluting microbeads.
Originally Published here.