The idea to phase out plastic straws began after Laine’s management partners Becky and Matt Andrews, and their team at the Tempest Inn on Brighton seafront, decided to minimise the impact that their pub and others were having on the beach environment, particularly after a busy summer weekend.
The team started by setting up a beach clean initiative that continues to this day, and out of that grew the Straws Suck campaign.
The company will now be offering customers reusable metal straws or paper straws that biodegrade.
Devastating environmental impact
“We cut out plastic straws a year ago now,” said Matt, “and offered our customers reusable steel straws.”
Becky continued: “We initially had to explain the devastating environmental impact of plastic in the oceans, but pretty much everyone understood and has been supportive of the alternatives, to the extent that we now receive bookings solely based on our zero tolerance for plastic straws.”
The couple then put the idea of banning plastic straws in the rest of Laine’s pub estate to CEO Gavin George, and then set about showing every Laine’s management partner how best to manage the transition from plastic straws to reusable or biodegradable alternatives.
With Laine’s pubs in London and Brighton now phasing out plastic straws completely, Straws Suck campaigners hope to garner support for straw alternatives from other retailers.
Brighton MP and joint leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, applauded the campaign, and said: “It’s brilliant that the Straws Suck campaign is raising awareness about the damage plastic straws cause to our natural environment, in particular our oceans.
"I’m delighted that the Laine Pub Company has agreed to use alternatives to plastic, and I hope that others follow their lead. With the Tempest on the seafront using about 400,000 straws a year, the switch away from plastic will make a significant difference.”
Becky said: “As a trained scuba diver, I’m already acutely aware of the environmental impact that mankind is having on life beneath the waves. But I’m pleased that the persistence of environmental campaigners is allowing awareness of this impact to enter the general consciousness and that this is leading to change. I’m hopeful that in the not-too-distant future, plastic straws will go the way of the plastic shopping bag.”