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San Antonio Zoo Leading Charge To Rid City Of Disposable Plastic Straws

Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio
A campaign is underway to rid San Antonio of disposible plastic straws.

A campaign to rid San Antonio of drinking straws to protect wildlife and reduce littering is underway, according to a news release from the San Antonio Zoo.

The zoo and associations representing the local restaurant, hotel, and tourism industries are backing the campaign called, “Straws No Mas.”

“We hope that through this pledge campaign we can encourage more sustainable alternatives, or, upon request, only procedures for customers who want to use a plastic straw,” said Tim Morrow, CEO and executive director of San Antonio Zoo.

Concerned about the damage plastic straws and single-use plastic can cause to wildlife, the zoo has never allowed disposable plastic straws and has removed much of the single-use plastic, including plastic silverware, plastic coffee lids and stir sticks, and plastic lorikeet feeding cups, a zoo news release said.

Guests are given the opportunity to purchase reusable cups, cup toppers, and reusable straws and the zoo offers alternatives to the single-use plastics they have removed, zoo officials said.

In addition, the zoo catering and culinary departments use eco-friendly utensils made from wood products and non-GMO plant-based plastic, and the gift shops use paper bags made of recycled paper, according to the news release.

The Plastic Pollution Coalition website reports straws can hurt humans, too, with 1,400 annual hospitalizations in the U.S., mostly to children. The common human injuries are to corneas, nostrils, ears, and mouths.

Participating members of the zoo campaign include the San Antonio Restaurant Association, the San Antonio Hotel and Lodging Association, the San Antonio Area Tourism Council, and businesses including the Hilton and Marriott Hotel chains, Starbucks, and Alamo Draft House.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org