Glasgow City Council to stop handing out straws after pressure from primary school children

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 26 January 2018

Encore, Glasgow City Council’s commercial catering division, will stop providing straws with customers’ drinks from the end of February – and people who ask for one will receive an eco-friendly alternative.

Straws in hand
© N Ewins / Marine Conservation Society

The work by Sunnyside Primary serves as an inspiring example to all of society about taking stock about the impacts of everyday items and activities and how we can all do our bit to stop the plastic tide.

Calum Duncan,
MCS Head of Conservation, Scotland

Encore says the use of pre-packaged drinks supplied with plastic straws will also be reviewed to see if more environmentally friendly options are feasible.

The move comes just weeks after the MSP Kate Forbes launched her ‘Final Straw’ campaign, backed by MCS, which calls on Scottish and UK Governments to ban plastic straws.

The announcement brought whoops of delight from Sunnyside pupils, who were also instrumental in helping their peers in Ullapool convince all 14 businesses in their village to ditch straws there, too.

Councillor Anna Richardson, the council’s convener for sustainability and carbon reduction said: “Sunnyside Primary School’s #NaeStrawAtAw campaign has been the deciding factor in this move and the pupils are to be congratulated on their impressive lobbying skills.”

Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer said: “It’s another win for the awesome #NaeStrawAtAw campaign by Sunnyside Primary! It is great to see Glasgow leading the way as the first Local Authority in Scotland to commit to removing single use plastic straws and we hope it will not be last. With Sunnyside Primary leading the way with businesses and now councils, MSP Kate Forbes leading the way in Parliament and our volunteers leading the way on our beaches the time has come to stop the plastic tide for good!”

Calum Duncan, MCS Head of Conservation, Scotland, says it’s another huge achievement for the school which has been blazing a progressive trail in marine conservation for quite a few years: “Well done Sunnyside Primary School for this latest huge achievement. Glasgow City Council are to be commended for this announcement, as inspired by the Sunnyside schoolchildren. Sunnyside Primary are showing all of Scotland how we can all do our bit to stop the plastic tide, including saying ‘no thanks’ to plastic straws and other single-use plastic items like cutlery, bottles, coffee cups and lids, and help change the world.

“This will provide a massive boost to Kate Forbes’s Final Straw campaign that we are supporting and which we hope in time will lead to the single-use plastic straw also being a thing of the past in Scotland.”

More than 26 cafes in the council’s museums, sports centres, offices, schools and the city chambers will be subject to the decision

Dropped straws can be blown into rivers and washed into the sea where they threaten seabirds, turtles, whales and dolphins - or end up with microplastics in the food chain if eaten by fish.

MCS is currently calling on UK governments to put a charge on single-use plastic throwaway items and demanding that big fast food chains stop giving out millions of plastic cups, stirrers, straws and cutlery but instead replace them with reusable or fully compostable alternatives.

Actions you can take

  1. Help us stop the plastic tide
  2. Find out more about Scottish Wildlife
  3. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019
  4. Browse Scotland's Marine Atlas

Did you know?…

UK Seas provide us with resources from fish to renewable marine energy

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces

Plastic has been found in the stomachs of almost all marine species including fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles