During the past 10 years a minimum of 403,000 straws and stirrers have been removed from global beaches during the International Coastal Cleanup.

That’s more than 4 million straws and stirrers removed during one annual global beach cleanup event.

Plastic straws are among the most common items found at Portland Chapter Surfrider cleanups – both on the Oregon coast and in Portland! They are not biodegradable, which means that every plastic straw created is still around in some form. Plastic has a huge impact on our ecosystems, wildlife and people, and it’s our chapter’s goal to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment.

In August 2017, the Portland Chapter launched the DitchTheStrawPDX program in the Portland-Metro area. The mission of the program is to assist businesses and individuals in reducing plastic straw usage in the city. We provide support to these businesses who agree to go plastic straw free for an entire month as a pilot program or longer, helping them to outreach to their staff and customers why putting a straw on request policy into action is both effective and feasible. Additionally, we provide support for reusable and paper straw alternatives for instances in which straws are necessary.

* A note on compostable/biodegradable straws: At Surfrider Portland Chapter, we are committed to minimizing harm on marine life and protecting our oceans, waves, and beaches. We’ve purposefully avoided using the term compostable/biodegradable to reduce confusion, as Portland’s business composting system is food only. More importantly to us, few straws labeled as such actually break down if they end up in a marine environment. In general, we largely consider bioplastics to still be a form of single-use plastics and prefer reusable (metal, glass, bamboo, copper) or paper straws in our program. For more info on our take on bioplastics and compostable/biodegradable straws, please check out our report, B.A.N. (Better Alternatives Now). All this being said, we are open to looking into a range of plastic-free alternatives and want to help find a solution that works for you, so please reach out to us with questions!

 

Are you interested in getting involved? Click below.

Map of Currently Participating Businesses

Press

 

Interested in supporting this program?
Contact Nancy Nordman at ditchthestraw@portland.surfrider.org