Skip a Straw, Save a Sea Turtle

The sign we have created that bars/restaurants can place to explain why they’re only handing out straws by request.

Leatherback, Loggerheads, Hawksbill, Green and the rarest and most endangered Kemp’s Ridley are sea turtle species that swim off Florida. Now, Sailors for the Sea, the Newport, Rhode Island-headquartered ocean conservation organization, has launched a campaign to encourage regattas, restaurants and bars to make straws in drinks request only rather than automatic.

“It’s estimated that Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day, and they are consistently in the top 10 list of litter found on beaches worldwide,” explains Hilary Kotoun,

the organization’s social impact director. “Worse, they are known to be a severe threat to marine life, including sea turtles, which are known to frequent South Florida beaches and waterways. By removing straws from the top of the bar or from server’s pockets and only providing them when requested, 99 percent of straw use can be eliminated. We are asking boaters to start by asking their yacht club and marina bars to join the movement.”

One example of this happened in January at the Sailing World Cup Miami. Race organizers distributed more than 2000 stainless steel straws to sailors, encouraging them to make the switch to reusable straws. For more information, visit

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.