“I see a world where we don’t have to change our behaviour – everything packaged in a way that’s not going to damage our environment. I see the circular economy taking off and we will design for end of life rather than just use.”
Anyone who has worked in hospitality knows how accustomed you get to scraping rubbish into bins – squashing it down with your body weight as it begins to overflow. Eva McKinley was working in hospitality where the overwhelming amount of rubbish being put to landfill every night, sparked a need for change in her.
At first, Eva thought that swapping single-use straws with biodegradable straws was the answer when she realised that a biodegradable option was not the best solution to her sustainable concerns, The Last Straw was born.
The Last Straw aims to stop the use of straws in bars, pubs, restaurants, and to begin a conversation.
The Last Straw faced harsh feedback from pubs and restaurant owners – who were accustomed to convenience and old practices –
“we’ve always done this, so why should we change? It’s not that big of a deal.”
THE TURNING POINT
When a video of a turtle with a straw stuck up its nose went viral, consumers began to listen. Eva said, “when people are made to make a connection with their actions long after they’ve used their single-use straw, they are able to truly feel the impact they’ve had.”
With determination and persistence, Eva has already been able to bring on board 500 venues across Australia and has hopes to scale the world. The Last Straw has forged large, impactful partnerships such as Grilled burger bars and Reading Cinemas to be plastic straw free. Eva has inspired a network of eco-worriers from around the globe to be advocates in their own communities, to fight till The Last Straw. Peru, Indonesia, Mexico and Kenya have all been influenced by Evas’ vision, with many more on the horizon. How inspiring!
Eva believes that there needs to be a societal shift, “the thought that because we’ve grown up with particular views and behaviours, doesn’t mean it is the right way. We need to find new ways of doing things and create something exciting.”
It takes a lot to shift old habits, the first step is recognising that our current behaviours may not be the best ones – “I get very inspired by people who take ownership of their actions!”
“I see a world where we don’t have to change our behaviour – everything packaged in a way that’s not going to damage our environment. I see the circular economy taking off and we will design for end of life rather than just use.”– Eva McKinley
One of the best products Eva has come across to combat the plastic straw epidemic is the humble piece of straw; grown, picked, used, composted.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
The Last Straw has been solely funded through grants and relied on the hard work of Eva and the community. Eva has big visions for the future of the Last Straw including more sustainability focus organisations, particularly focusing on events and venue waste.
While it will take time to persuade some of the catastrophic impacts of our single use consumerism, Eva believes that by starting a conversation, people will become more open as time goes on.
You can check out the amazing and inspiring work Eva and her eco-worrier friends are doing at The Last Straw. Do you know of a venue that needs to get on board? Want to start your own Last Straw Group? Download your free Last Straw resource kit off The Last Straws website or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Instagram.
Make a change in your own life and reduce your plastic straw usage. You can purchase our stainless steel metal straws here.