Suffolk effort aims to draw straws out of circulation

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NORTHPORT -

A new effort in Suffolk looks to get residents and restaurants to cut back on single-use plastic straws.

The Strawless Summer initiative is part of a plan developed by the Suffolk County Plastic Reduction Task Force.

MORE: Long Island Environment Coverage
MORE COVERAGE: Village approves ban on plastic foam cups, containers | Long Beach to enforce plastic bag fee

"Single-use plastics, we need to get rid of them," says Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn. "We need to stop using so much plastic one time."

Residents are being urged to commit to stop using straws. And Suffolk County restaurants are being urged to only give out straws with beverages when patrons ask for them, to switch to paper straws that can break down in the environment faster -- or to take it a step further by eliminating straws altogether.

"You can just drink your water out of a glass -- imagine that!" Hahn says.

It's a welcome step for environmentalists who say marine wildlife suffers because of single-use plastics.

"When an animal digests the debris, the animal starves to death, which is very painful," says Rob Digiovanni, of the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. "But it's something we can do something about."

At the Purple Elephant restaurant in Northport, straws have been taken off the menu for just about two years, and they also offer compostable utensils for takeout.

MORE INFO: Strawless Summer

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