VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - You won't find a plastic straw inside the Virginia Aquarium's cafe. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find any single-use plastic.
It's Christina Trapani's mission to see other area restaurants do the same.
Trapani's business, Eco Maniac Company, specializes in alternatives to single-use plastics, like straws. She also heads Keep It Beachy Clean, a program to educate beach visitors about cleaning up Coastal Virginia sands.
"I like to call plastic straws the "gateway single-use plastics" or the change-maker, if you will," Trapani told News 3 inside the aquarium's cafe. "Overtime, especially in our waterways, it can break down and become smaller and smaller pieces of plastic which can eventually be consumed by our wildlife, our fish. Many people saw the video of the sea turtle that had it lodged in its nose."
There are debates on how many plastic straws are used daily in the U.S., but they are among the tops in items found along the world's coasts.
National Skip the Straw Day, celebrated on the fourth Friday of February, asks restaurant-goers to pass on a straw if possible or opt for paper, bamboo, glass and other material alternatives.
“We’re just surrounded by water and I think we have to be conscious of that. All these small steps that we can take. I don’t think it needs to fall completely on the business," said Trapani. "As consumers we just need to bring a straw with us. If you’re going to a place where you’re going to automatically get a straw, when you order your straw, say, "I don’t need a straw, thanks.'”
Recognizing some need to use a straw for different reasons, she says there should always be those accommodations, but adds that it would make a difference if people who can cut back choose to do so.
“If you’re not going to give up the straw, give up something else. You can’t do it all, so are you bringing a reusable shopping bag when you go out shopping. Maybe you can try that?," she said.
For more information on 'skipping the straw', click HERE.