Restaurants join in straw-less summer initiative

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Several restaurants along the Grand Strand are taking a stand against plastic.

This initiative comes after a local organization started a campaign to end the use of plastic straws for the summer. The Strawless Summer Campaign was created by the Chirping Bird Society, which recruited 45 local restaurants to use paper straws instead of plastic ones for the summer season.

"We've been working for the last two months to try to get restaurants to participate," said Cory Hellyer.

Hellyer says the group isn't just looking for restaurants on the beach, but throughout the area.

"Plastic pollution comes from up to 30 miles inland. So it's not just Horry County," she said.

"We are the ones who have to take the initiative," said Benjamin's Bakery manager Missy Goodwin. "Being that we're part of the Surfside business community and committee, we find it very important to save our beach and save our community, and so people of other generations can come and enjoy our beach."

Benjamin's Bakery already uses biodegradable bags and serves boxed water. Goodwin says adding paper straws was just one more way to help keep the beaches clean.

"We do use them in all of our drinks and we also are offering [plastic] straws upon request," said Goodwin.

The Grand Strand isn't the only area taking part in a straw-less summer. This is the second year restaurants in Charleston are stopping the use of straws.

"They have over 200 restaurants. So we have something to look forward to. I don't know if we'll make 200 our first year, but if we make 200 our second year that's pretty impressive in the Grand Strand," Hellyer.

"It's catching on, the fact that we need to save our planet, our animals, our ecosystem, and even if it's a small start with a straw it's going to lead to bigger things," Goodwin said.

Goodwin added those paper straws do cost a little bit more, but she says the price is worth it if it will keep plastic off the beaches.

The Strawless Summer Campaign kicks off on June 21.

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