Sydney businesses celebrated for straw-free movement

The Sydney Doesn’t Suck collaboration, led by City of Sydney councillor Jess Miller, has walked away with the Food for Good Award at National Good Food Guide 2018.

The award, announced in Melbourne on October 8, celebrates innovation, charity and sustainability.

The Sydney Doesn’t Suck movement draws attention to the positive work Sydney’s bars, hospitality and entertainment venues are doing to limit their use of single-use plastic straws.

Ten-million straws are used by Australians each day and 3.6 billion straws are used annually.

READ: New facility in New Zealand sees water packaged in recycled plastic bottles

Horrified at these statistics and inspired by Sydney small bar Ching-a-lings and the work they were doing to get rid of single use plastics, Miller in collaboration with the Solotel Group, Sydney Opera House and Time Out got together to bring the campaign to life.

“To get this acknowledgment from the sector and watch the growing support from hundreds of venues across Sydney has been amazing,” said Miller.

“It’s all been for a good reason though, given that the commitment just from the Sydney Opera House precinct alone means that more than two million turtle-choking straws will not be used within the next year, that’s a pretty incredible outcome,” she said.

Michael Rodrigues, from Time Out said with the spotlight on Sydney’s night-time economy often focusing on discussions around policing, lockout and red-tape review, it tends to obscure the good work the hospitality sector is doing to encourage wider positive social change.

“We saw supporting this campaign as an easy entry point for improved sustainable practices across the industry,” said Rodrigues.

Solotel Group’s Opera Bar played a large role in kick-starting the campaign’s momentum.

The bar served over a million plastic straws per year, and pledged to remove them entirely by August 1, 2018.

Solotel Group marketing director Dan Lacaze said many of the company’s pubs in the inner west had been plastic-straw free for some time, but the company committed all thirty venues being plastic-straw free as well.

“Sydney Doesn’t Suck complements the broader work of the City of Sydney’s sustainable destination partnerships of more than 30 members across the entertainment and accommodation sector.

“Seeing transformation change and leadership like this project is critical in this sector as it is responsible for 47 per cent of all commercial waste, 21 per cent of the city’s carbon emission and 14 per cent of drinking water consumption,” said Miller.