181 reef tour operators have jumped on board and stopped providing plastic straws on their vessels.
As we reported in the 2017 Report Card, 2.62 tonnes of marine debris was cleaned up by community groups from Wet Tropics beaches during the 2015-16 reporting period. The majority of this consisted of plastic items, including straws, which pose a threat to marine life.
Cairns marine biologist Nicole Nash established Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef in early 2017 to persuade reef tour operators to ban plastic straws from their vessels.
Her campaign has spread across the Queensland coast and as of August 2018 she has persuaded over 300 businesses to register. And while the idea initially was to ban plastic straws on reef boats, her campaign has now begun to extend to other land-based businesses as follows:
In total these venues used to use over two million plastic straws per year.
Plastic straws are simply the beginning of the conversation and Nicole says the businesses who have given up straws are also talking about giving up other single-use plastics like cutlery, cups and water bottles.
And, thanks to Queensland's ban on single use plastic bags and the ABC's series 'War on Waste', plastic waste has become such a hot topic that some customers are even choosing where to take their business based on the venues environmental credentials.