Dozens of Colorado restaurants have taken the pledge to get rid of plastic straws

BOULDER, Colo. -- As the movement to ban plastic straws gains traction across the country, you could start to see more plastic straws disappear from Colorado.

“Straws are everywhere and they’re so unnecessary,” Vicki Nichols Goldstein said.

Goldstein started a non-profit called Inland Ocean Coalition. The goal is to protect the ocean through education and action in non-coastal states.

Last year the Coalition set its sights on plastic straws.

“We’ve been seeing an increase of plastic pollution everywhere in our creeks along our roadsides and in the ocean,” Goldstein said.

She says straws that end up in Boulder Creek could make their way to the ocean. And even if they don’t make it that far, she says they still have a profound impact on wildlife.

“Mom birds, dad birds will feed plastic to their chicks thinking it’s food and then they will literally die with a stomach full of plastic,” she said.

In 2017 the group pushed a campaign called “Such the Straws Out of Boulder”. Eighty restaurants and businesses along the front range have taken the pledge to ditch plastic.

“I would say we were probably going through a hundred every couple of days. Maybe double that,” said Michael Kelly, manager at Taco Junky.

The restaurant has been straw-free for more than a year and it says customers have been receptive.

“There’s still people that ask and a lot of people will act a little shocked at first but it definitely makes sense,” Kelly said.

Huge chains like Starbucks are now following in their footsteps, pledging to get rid of plastic straws within two years. On Twitter, unhappy customers are already complaining about the inconvenience for people with disabilities.

Taco Junky says that while change is going to be hard for some, it’s well worth it for everyone.

“I think in the long run it’s definitely a positive thing that we’ve done,” Kelly said. “As this is something that more and more people become aware of and are giving a concern about we’ll see a lot of large corporations do something similar.”

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