Saturday, September 23, 2023

Welcome to Virginia Beach?

A global crisis starts with one simple straw
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Fact: Five grocery bags of plastic trash for every single foot of coastline in the world are dropped into our oceans each year.

Five bags on every foot of Virginia Beach, Chick’s Beach, Buckroe and Sandbridge. Five bags for every bit of shoreline, including the Lynnhaven River. And while the photo above is from a beach in Singapore, it is only a matter of time before it could be any beach in Tidewater Virginia.


By the year 2050 our oceans are projected to have more plastic than fish.

Alarming Study: “By the year 2050 it is estimated that we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish. That’s just 33 years from now — our lifetime!” according to Adam Grenier, founder of the Lonely Whale Foundation in an interview with Forbes magazine.

It’s starts with a straw.
Believe it or not, it all starts with a simple plastic straw.

Can you guess how many plastic straws Americans use every day?

We use 500 million plastic straws every day in the U.S.

500 million straws, or one and a half straws stuck into the mouth of every single person in the United States every day.

And while straws are rarely used at home, they are provided with almost every beverage served in restaurants, coffee shops, diners and drive-throughs. When disposed, however, they often don’t make it to the recycle bin. They are thrown away with the paper cup, or miss the bin when the rest of the recyclables are tossed.

Grenier is one of many organizations, along with Ocean Conservancy, who are sponsoring programs to get people to stop using straws, and straw providers to at least go to a “straw by request only” policy.

Granted, straws are a tiny fraction of the total plastic waste dumped into the ocean each year, but Grenier points out why focusing on the straw gains awareness to the bigger problem, which is why he launched Strawless Ocean.

“So, while plastic straws may seem trivial in the grand scheme of the plastic pollution problem, we are viewing straws as our “gateway plastic” for both consumers and industry leaders alike to understand and take action against all single use plastics.” Grenier told Forbes.

This is where a global problem can also be solved with local action, and one local company that has a passion for supporting the hard work of organizations like Ocean Conservancy is Great Outdoor Provisions Company, fondly referred to as GOPC.

“I feel it is imperative for us to have an intentional narrative. Most valuable to our region are efforts to reduce and eliminate single-use plastics, Chuck Millsaps, president of GOPC said recently.

Imagine if, every person, when passing through the drive-through at their favorite fast food joint, or grabbing an iced-coffee from their favorite barista, simply said “I’ll skip the straw, thanks.”

Imagine further, if they told each local manager that their company could save money, lower pollution levels in our waterways, and reduce the injuries and deaths of local wildlife simply by giving out straws only be request, and joined the process of making everyone aware of the reality of single use plastic.

Millsaps said that, when it comes to local conservation efforts around his store locations, single use plastics is by and large the greatest amount of waste these teams are cleaning up.

GOPC is ready and waiting to help anyone get on board with a “skip the straw” movement when you contact your local store, and joins many others in the hope that the movement catches on.

Visit GOPC at the LRNow Fall Festival

GOPC manager Zach Roberts and his team will be hosting a vendor booth at this year’s Fall Fest to support Lynnhaven River Now.

Along with samples of their clothing and equipment of all kinds, GOPC will be providing information and instruction on how you can “skip the straw.”

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