In this series of articles, we’ll profile conservation organizations focused on ocean protection. Today we’re chatting with Milo Cress, the young founder of Be Straw Free.
What does Be Straw Free do?
I started this campaign in 2011 (at 9 years old) in order to get rid of plastic straws and the waste of plastic they represent. Every year, we use hundreds of millions of them and then discard them. This creates a huge amount of waste that we could easily avoid. I am doing my best to raise awareness and get individuals, businesses, schools and more to take the pledge to Be Straw Free.
How and why did it start?
I noticed a few years ago that every time I ordered a drink, it came with a straw. It seemed like such a waste, as I didn’t really need it. So I did some research and found out the number of straws we use every day: 500 million! Then I decided to do something about it.
How many people are involved and what are their roles?
I am the founder, spokesperson, communications director, marketer, and responsible for pretty much everything else. But Ecocycle is very generous to host my webpage for the past few years, and they have been a priceless resource for information and inspiration. But the truth is, Ecocycle and I are the smallest part of Be Straw Free — it is all the businesses, schools, organizations and individuals who participate in working to reduce our use of single-use plastic straws every day that make the biggest difference.
What are the main actions and/or areas of focus?
I picked one goal — get rid of plastic straws. This is where I concentrate all my efforts. This project has allowed me to travel to a lot of places in the United States and across the world to meet a lot of people ready to commit to getting rid of straws. I had the chance to speak at conferences and to businesses and schools, as well as governmental and private organizations about reducing the use of plastic straws.
How can people help?
You can pledge to get rid of straws in your life. If you really need to use one, you can switch to reusable straws such as glass or metal straws. You can also help me raise awareness about this issue and encourage your friends and family to Be Straw Free.