LAST STRAW: No more plastic straws at Sawtell RSL and Eileen, Michelle and Adam Tritton, Betty Weick, Danielle Angus-Crouch and Joy Bailey are all smiles.
LAST STRAW: No more plastic straws at Sawtell RSL and Eileen, Michelle and Adam Tritton, Betty Weick, Danielle Angus-Crouch and Joy Bailey are all smiles. Trevor Veale

Plastic straws are a thing of the past at RSL

IT WON'T happen overnight but step by step the Sawtell RSL is reducing its reliance on single use plastics and Plastic Free July is the perfect opportunity to ramp up their efforts.

From July 1, plastic straws are out and paper alternatives are available on request.

"It's all about education and we have the 'choose to refuse' posters up all around the club," marketing director Kate Drum explained.

She says some customers like to use a straw to stir their drinks so bar staff are encouraged to use the good old swizzle stick as another alternative.

The club is also moving away from serving takeaway in polystyrene and using more cardboard containers.

Another focus of their efforts are the popular meat tray raffles.

The club is currently investigating several biodegradable alternatives to plastic bags for winners to claim their prize while encouraging patrons to bring along their own bags in case they get lucky.

"On a Friday night we would give out over 180 meat trays a night," Ms Drum said.

Club patron Adam Tritton is pleased to see the changes and brings a reusable bag to the raffles.

"We were down there today and I noticed lots of people had brought their own bags," he said.

"It's good for the environment and it's good for everybody.

"I am an animal lover and I hate to see animals washed up on the beach with plastic in their bodies."

Many of the "friendlier" alternatives can be quite costly as Ms Drum has discovered. For example it costs $21 for 2500 plastic straws compared to $90 for the equivalent number of paper straws.

Their efforts will continue beyond the Plastic Free July campaign which has grown from a handful of participants in Western Australia in 2011 to millions of participants across more than 150 countries. In September a 100kw solar system will be installed with the expectation of converting to 200kw over the next three years.



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