SDSU should follow in county’s footsteps and initiate straw ban

The ‘straw’ doesn’t just break the camel’s back — it will also break the environment’s.

by Cassidy McCombs, Senior Staff Writer

According to a report released by the National Park Service’s Be Straw Free Campaign, 500 million plastic straws are used in the U.S. everyday – this averages about two straws per day for every person.

If nothing is done to change the amount of plastic consumed globally, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. For a California State University nestled in an eco-friendly beach city, San Diego State should set a precedent in curbing the over-consumption of plastic.

California is a leading source of information and progression in conservation efforts. Last year the San Diego Union-Tribune published, Last straw? Should California eliminate plastic straws after plastic bag ban? which references the state ban on take-out plastic bags as momentum to continue efforts to limit the consumption of plastic straws. 

What concerns environmental activists is that straw use is habitual and therefore a result of lifestyle. How the environment is thought about and treated is essential to the progress of improving eco-friendly efforts to limit plastic. California already recognizes the impact of banning plastic carry-out bags, so other fixes such as single-use plastic straw bans should also be implemented. 

Local efforts are gaining more traction. The Surfrider Foundation San Diego launched a Plastic Straws Suck pledge as part of its Rise Above Plastics 2018 campaign which asks pledgers to say ‘no straw’ whenever they order a drink. Alongside this pledge, SFSD also runs the Ocean Friendly Restaurant program, which urges behavior change to impact reducing plastic waste in restaurants. This restaurant program works as a policy campaign that pushes a Straws Upon Request ordinance or plastic straw ban to be passed in San Diego. The Ocean Friendly Restaurant program has gained incentivizing support through giving their approved restaurants eco-friendly media attention. Even cities within San Diego County are making individualized efforts to address single-use plastic straws. The Encinitas Environmental Commission already voted in favor of asking the City Council to pass an ask-first distribution ordinance to all Encinitas restaurants.

 SDSU should embrace eco-friendly movements — especially locally run and operated efforts. SDSU should not only show loyalty to their environmentally conscious city and state, but should also be taking initiative to support the cultivation of eco-friendly habits and progressive lifestyles.

Green Love is a sustainability club at SDSU that shows students have a passion for helping the environment. This should incentivize the university to take acknowledge a need to set an example for other college campuses. SDSU is at a unique position of location, culture and influence and should be a leader in movements such as banning plastic straws.

Awareness of how damaging plastic is to the environment is key. Having a campus as recognized as SDSU implementing eco-conscious practices, such as a straw ban, will bring greater awareness.