It may seem like a small thing, but single use plastic straws have a big environmental footprint. In fact, more than 175 billion straws are filtered into landfills and litter the oceans each year – and plastic straws rank no. 5 on the list of the top 10 items collected in the ocean, according to The Last Plastic Straw. Now, one spirits company is putting a stake in the ground on the issue, making a small change with the potential for major impact.
Last month, Bacardi launched the "No Straw" movement – an internal initiative to eliminate straws and stirrers from all company events. The effort helps to send a signal to employees that sustainability is a priority for the brand, and even the smallest acts can build to greater impact. The announcement ladders up to the company's broader "Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future" environmental campaign which incorporates responsible sourcing, streamlined packaging and efficient operations as focus areas of its efforts. The "No Straw" initiative is expected to save nearly 12,000 straws and stirrers from landfills just from in-house company happy hours. And, the effort will also be expanded to its distillery operations, where more than 80,000 customers visit annually and 14,000 cocktails are crafted on a monthly basis. The happy hours and distillery operations will opt for reusable metal stirrers and straw-less glassware to drive the message home.
Some sustainability challenges seem almost insurmountable – and companies can have a hard time deciding how to even begin making a positive impact on issues. Yet, oftentimes, when major companies make even small incremental changes there can be major benefits. Bacardi's move to eliminate straws may seem like a drop in the bucket, but it sends a clear message to employees and visitors, educating individuals on changes we can all make in our lives while signaling sustainability as an internal priority. Now, the brand has the opportunity to make an even bigger impact – inviting all consumers to join the movement and make a "No Straw" future a reality.