BOLD MOVE Westport Tidy Towns, in association with the Westport Vintners Association, have come together to help eradicate the use of plastic straws in Westport. Liam Campion, chairperson of Westport Tidy Towns (front, centre), and a large group of local vintners at the launch of the first biodegradeable straws. Pic: Frank Dolan
Westport leads the way as vintners commit to biodegradable straws
Westport publicans and hoteliers are set to do their bit to save the planet by making Westport the first town in Ireland to replace plastic straws with biodegradable straws.
The environmental initiative will come into place on June 1, when the plastic straws will become a thing of the past in all Westport pubs and hotels. In so doing, Westport will be the first town in Ireland where biodegradable straws will be used in all of their pubs.
The decision to phase out plastic straws was made following a suggestion by Westport Tidy Towns to the local vintners, in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic generated in the town. Seán O’Grady, the outgoing Chairman of the Westport Vintners’ Association, told The Mayo News that the vintners were delighted to do their bit for the environment.
“We have been working with the Tidy Towns for a number of years, and we play our part in keeping the town tidy by cleaning outside our premises. It was mentioned to us about doing away with plastic straws, and we all agreed that it was the right thing to do. We are phasing it out at the moment and we should all only using biodegradable straws by the end of May. We are delighted to do it,” he explained.
Mr O’Grady explained that changes in drinking habits and culture meant that the use of straws have become a lot more common in recent years.
“Once, the only time you would use a straw was when you were giving a mineral to a young person. But the trend has changed in recent years, and they are used more and more, especially with women drinking cocktails. It suited publicans too because lipstick was not staining glasses, which can be difficult to wash,” he said.
This idea of biodegradable straws was first mooted at a meeting of Westport’s Junior Tidy Towns. Members of this group are running an awareness campaign called ‘Unwrapped’, encouraging people to reduce unnecessary use of plastics and excess packaging.
Liam Campion, the Chairman of Westport Tidy Towns, said he was delighted that the Westport Vintners agreed to the initiative and that Westport is leading the way in reducing plastic waste.
“The issue of plastic waste and where it ends up is a major environmental concern at the moment, and something needs to be done about it.
“We asked the vintners to come on board, and we were delighted that they all agreed to do so as one group. Westport will be the first town in Ireland where all the vintners introduce biodegradable straws. We hope that with the vintners now using biodegradable straws, other premises like coffee shops and take-aways will follow suit,” he said.