Why Your Event Needs to #StopSucking (on Straws!)

It’s the last straw for hotels, restaurants and bars across the country. They agree it’s time to stop sucking. Specifically, it’s time to stop sucking on single-use plastic straws.

Led by Lonely Whale, a nonprofit organization, the #stopsucking movement is a global campaign to reduce plastic waste. Hotels such as 21c Museum Hotels, the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa and the Kimpton Hotel Allegro in Chicago have already deemed petroleum-based straws outdated—and have begun using more eco-friendly alternatives.

Adrian Grenier, actor and cofounder of Lonely Whale, began the campaign, which is known as Strawless Ocean. “Conservatively, you can guess that Americans will use on average two plastic straws a day, so 500 million is an accurate estimate,” he says. “But I challenge you to start paying attention to the straws you get in your iced coffee, smoothies, soda and cocktails. When I’m in New York or L.A., the number of plastic straws I receive is often closer to 10 a day.”

The app Litterati says straws are the sixth-most common type of liter, often endangering marine life and polluting water. Lonely Whale estimates that if we continue on this path, plastic will outweigh fish by 2050. Weighty stuff, right?

Although you may not have thought about it before now, meeting and event planners are often big culprits. After all, it’s the utensil most hotels, venues, vendors and catering companies offer. But this can change.

Are You up to the Challenge?

The Strawless Ocean website outlines a challenge to help spread the word. Here are the options to help get the word out to the meetings and events industry.

Option 1: Direct Challenge

The website gives you a unique challenge link. Simply post a video, selfie or any photo that helps challenge a specific business on any social media. Think of this one as a call-out.

The text template offered on the site:

Hey @NAME, could you #stopsucking already? [INCLUDE YOUR CHALLENGE LINK]

Option 2: Awareness Challenge

Similar to the first option, you’re asked to post on social media. This time the prompt proposes a video, selfie or photo of a strawless drink or an ocean snapshot. This aims to inform your followers why the movement is significant.

The text template offered on the site:

Did you know we use 500 million plastic straws every day in the U.S.? Plastics are killing our ocean. #StopSucking and save the ocean here: [INCLUDE YOUR CHALLENGE LINK]

All About the Alternatives

Can you conceive of a world without plastic straws? No problem. All these alternative straws work just as well:

  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Reed
  • Bamboo
  • Glass
  • Steel and silicone

So at this point, it should be clear. Single-use-plastic straws are harmful and unnecessary. As a meeting or event planner, you’re hosting events that likely involve tons and tons of drinks. Make a change in a positive direction. Make a point to your vendors and attendees. Not only will they take note, many will likely stop sucking, too.

You’ve been officially challenged.

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