Pubs are urged to ditch plastic straws

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell with supporters of the Plastic Free Coastline campaign, including campaigners and business representatives. Picture by Tom Bing
Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell with supporters of the Plastic Free Coastline campaign, including campaigners and business representatives. Picture by Tom Bing

Bars will be urged to ditch plastic straws as campaigners launch the next stage of the drive to tackle pollution on the coast.

It follows the success of Tynemouth in becoming the first place in the region to be awarded Plastic Free Coastline status.

Around a dozen local traders have signed up to the national campaign run by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) by ditching throwaway, single use plastics such as cups, cutlery, containers, bottles, straws, stirrers and packaging in favour of biodegradable alternatives.

The town can now display the campaign logo and volunteers plan to extend the drive to include different groups in the months ahead.

The first target will be to persuade bars in Tynemouth to replace plastic drinking straws with green alternatives or remove them completely.

Sally McGee, who is co-ordinating the local campaign, said: “Single use plastic straws are one of simplest items to replace or remove and it would make a big difference if all bars and cafes were to take action. It’s something that many customers want to see happen.”

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell, who met campaign leaders and business owners at Longsands Beach, Tynemouth, said: “To be awarded Plastic Free Coastline status is a remarkable achievement but we can’t rest there.

“I would like to see the whole community get fully behind this campaign. I hope some of our other coastal communities like Cullercoats and Whitley Bay will follow Tynemouth’s lead.”

SAS says businesses backing the campaign now include Crusoe’s, The View, Riley’s Fish Shack, Longsands Fish Kitchen, Mister Woods coffee, Cullercoats Bike and Kayak, Seabanks ice cream, Blue Reef Aquarium, Barca Art Bar, Tynemouth Surf Co, Tynemouth Coffee Co, and Longsands Clothing Co.

Businesses pledge to ditch a range of single use plastics which can harm marine life including seals, fish, birds and plants and eventually enter the food chain.

Sally said they hope North Tyneside Council will pass a motion backing the campaign in the council chamber.

She added: “We are thrilled that Tynemouth has been awarded this fantastic accolade. It is, however, only the beginning. Local businesses have so far been amazing, getting on board with the campaign with such speed and enthusiasm.

“However, there is still much more to be done. Over the next few years it is going to be essential that more plastic free alternatives are developed and made readily available, The demand is clearly there for it and we look forward to the change.”

Longsands Fish Kitchen in Front Street has already replaced plastic straws with paper ones and these are only handed out if customers ask.

Owner Simon Walsh says they have launched a ‘Stop Sucking’ campaign, complete with poster, which is proving successful.

“Customers love the idea and are embracing it,” he said. “In light of the alarming amount of plastic found along our coastline and in our seas, especially the giant plastic island found in the Pacific, I believe we all need to be involved in making change.

“We are fully behind the Plastic Free Coastline campaign and we urge all businesses to do the same.”

Successful businesses get stickers and certificates to display at their premises and those wishing to participate can contact Surfers Against Sewage at tynemouthsasplasticfree@gmail.com