SUMMIT, NJ - In a media event held in the courtyard of City Hall -- organized by the Summit Department of Community Services, Recycling Advisory Committee, Environmental Commission and Green Summit -- Mayor Nora Radest and members from participating businesses unveiled a City-wide community partnership designed to reduce plastic straw waste in the Hilltop City.

'Skip the Straw' aims to reduce plastic waste and protect the environment through education and community outreach, engaging local businesses and residents to stop creating excess plastic trash at its source. Businesses will make a voluntary commitment to serve straws by request only or switch to an alternative to plastic straws.

The elimination of single-use plastic straws is an initiative that is gaining momentum worldwide. According to multiple media reports -- including fortune.com -- U.S. companies already eliminating, or announcing they will soon eliminate -- the used of plastic straws include Starbucks, Disney, Bon Appétit, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt, Marriott International, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Royal Caribbean and Sea World Parks & Entertainment. Cities banning plastic straw usage include Miami Beach, Seattle, Oakland and Berkeley, CA.

Sign Up for E-News

The challenges with plastic straw usage include:

  • Plastic straws are not recyclable.
  • Each day, in the U.S. alone, millions of plastic straws are used.
  • Plastic straws enter sewers and waterways, damaging oceans and sea life.
  • Plastic micro-particles enter the food chain and are consumed by humans when eating fish and shellfish.

To combat this dynamic, the public and business alike are being encouraged to:

  • Offer straws only upon request or eliminate them altogether.
  • Consider paper or reusable straws instead of plastic.
  • Display table tents or window clings to educate patrons / consumers.

"Summit’s 'Skip the Straw' initiative is an important step toward a healthier and more sustainable community," said Radest. "In the past 20 years, people have come to expect a plastic straw to be served in every drink. It is an example of unnecessary waste being generated for minimal convenience."

The Mayor added, "It is my hope that the community engagement around avoiding the use of plastic straws will influence a meaningful shift in the way individuals and businesses in Summit think about plastic pollution. My family has made the switch to reusable stainless steel straws and I encourage you to consider making a personal commitment to skip the straw. Let’s encourage our friends and families to do so as well."

Those interested in participating, or who would like further information, are directed to contact recylclesummit@gmail.com.