Miary Rasoanaivo ’18, Earth’s Last Straw, Saratoga Springs, NY

Two questions that stuck to me at the start of this campaign was: do people actually care about this issue? And since plastic straws are about 10 times cheaper than these alternatives, why would businesses make the transition from plastic?

To get the answers to these questions, I thought, why not ask the people directly. If we can make the case that a lot of people today actually care, and that they are looking forward for businesses to transition away from plastic, then we have a more solid argument to come up to businesses and prove that they will benefit more if they make this transition. To implement this idea, as we got a social platform at the Farmers’ Market, we made surveys to get the information from people. Ultimately, this piece of evidence can go beyond businesses, and extend to legislators. Moreover, since we already have a few businesses who are making the transition at this point, with the support of community members through those survey results, we can make the case to the legislators that a legal enforcement is needed.

Although the surveys are ongoing, here are the results as of now. It is clear that people do care about this issue and they want more eco-friendly alternatives to plastic on the market. However, it is important to note that, farmers’ market visitors might be a biased sample of the population since they are more likely to be more progressive about environmental actions. However, we have only received mostly positive feedback from the businesses who already transitioned. Thus, there is almost no opposition at all from the community about saying good bye to plastic straws.

Another interesting insight from these results is that, a good number of people do not know that plastic straws are not recyclable. This is something we have addressed and will stress on when raising awareness through social media and the future PSAs.

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