The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (LHCCC) is a non-government charitable organization established in 1998 with the goals of protecting and restoring Lake Huron’s coastal environment, and supporting a healthy coastal ecosystem.
Approximately 500 million plastic straws are used daily in the United States and thrown out after one use. These 500 million straws could fill over 127 school buses each day.
In 2017, plastic straws were one of the top 10 items found during beach clean ups, with 17,654 straws picked up by volunteers on Canadian shorelines.
The Ocean Conservancy reported that worldwide over 400,000 straws were picked up in beach clean ups last year alone.
A plastic straw can take over 200 years to decompose, and unfortunately plastic does not fully biodegrade and instead slowly breaks down into tiny pieces called ‘microplastics.’
Disposable items, like straws, contribute to the massive amount of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes.
Lake Huron receives approximately 600 metric tons of plastic pollution annually, and one study found that there were 1.7 million pieces of micro-plastics per square mile in Lake Erie; a higher density than some parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Plastic continues to be found in the stomachs of birds, and wildlife, which is detrimental to their health and can often leads to fatalities. The Lake Huron Coastal Centre for Conservation is working to combat the issue of plastic pollution with their Microplastic Awareness Project, and is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Michigan-based glass straw manufacturer Strawesome. Strawesome is a family business working towards awareness and action to eliminate the need for single-use plastic drinking straws. Working with the LHCCC, they have designed a Lake Huron themed glass straw for the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation. The straw was inspired by the endangered Piping Plover shorebird, which relies on healthy beach and dune ecosystems to survive.
Around 33 percent of the sale of each straw is donated to the LHCCC to support their work, which includes holding shoreline clean ups and monitoring the lake for micro-plastics, along with restoring beaches and coastal wetlands, protecting Species at Risk, and educating youth about Great Lakes conservation.
The straws are available for purchase at the LHCCC office in downtown Goderich, or at www.strawesome.com.
Erinn Lawrie, the Executive Director of the LHCCC says, “Refusing single-use straws in restaurants and switching to a reusable straw is one small change people can make in their daily lives to make a large collective impact. It is encouraging to see so many local businesses like Cait’s Caf, and Pat & Kevin’s working towards this as well by only serving drinks with straws upon request, or switching to more ecofriendly paper straws.”