Clarion Woman Urges Locals to Celebrate Earth Day Straw Free

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A local woman is taking on plastic pollution for Earth Day, one straw at a time.

Recently, Trista Foster, a longtime resident of the Clarion area, decided to start a local campaign geared at cutting down on one small but powerful type of plastic waste in our local community: disposable drinking straws.

Foster told, “I had this idea after reading several articles and watching videos about straw waste in particular. Honestly, straws and straw waste weren’t something I’d really given much thought to before, and I realized other people probably didn’t think much about it either.”

“It seems like such a simple thing…something we’re all just used to doing, so it’s easy to overlook. Basically, I felt like this should be something more people think about, and I want to raise awareness.”

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency website, plastic straws are consistently one of the most littered plastic items, and often end up in waterways, where they can harm fish and wildlife.

“With social media at the core of our modern culture, more information and videos are being circulated online, and it’s all too easy to actually see the amount of waste being dumped into oceans, as well as many of the negative effects this is having.”

“One video, in particular, shows a straw being pulled from the nose of a tortoise, and it’s pretty upsetting.”

With the goal of local awareness in mind, Foster decided to start by approaching local businesses.

“Once I decided I wanted to try to do this, I contacted a bunch of restaurants and bars in the area proposing the idea. I still have more work to do in that area. Some have responded, some haven’t, but I hope this article will encourage more to join this small movement for Earth Day weekend.”

Foster is asking these local businesses to go straw-free (and if possible, plastic-cup-free) for Earth Day, April 22, and the preceding days of the weekend, April 20 and 21.

“Basically, what I’m proposing is that restaurants and bars only give out straws to those who ask for them. People in the community can help by refusing straws when they go out to eat or drink. Fast food restaurants, for example, give out straws automatically, but people can help by saying ‘no thank you’ to that. I think it will at least make some people think about how many straws they actually use and how unnecessary they really are (with exceptions for people who need to use them for medical reasons).”

“A big part of this project is just to get people thinking…get them thinking about how changing even one small habit can make a difference and how it can lead to other habit changes that can benefit our environment.”

Foster is a graduate of Clarion Area High School and Clarion University.

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