"No Plastic Straw, Please" and Other Important Phrases

No Straw, Please
Over the past few months, I've been quite good with taking all the necessary precautions to avoid plastic, but during the past few weeks, I've been lax with at least one thing: remembering to say those very important words, "no straw please."

I would estimate that I've ordered five different drinks, only to be shocked and appalled when each one was handed to me across a bar or delivered to my table with some hideous red or green straw swimming in it. Not good and totally my fault.

To ensure that this never happens again, I am now going to make a public promise:

From now on, I will always remember to say "no straw, please" when ordering a drink.

Other Important Phrases
No that I've made my official no-straw promise, here's a list of important phrases for any plastic free individual:

  • "No bag, please" - When grocery shopping or making purchases of any kind.
  • "No plastic silverware, please" - When ordering takeout.
  • "No lid, please" - When ordering beverages such as coffee (Note that Starbucks doesn't allow this)
  • "How do you package that?" - When buying things online or over the phone, including takeout.
  • "Can you wrap that in paper?" - At the deli or meat counter.

Anyone have any good phrases to add?


Jeanne said…
Just wanted to mention that with these phrases, I'm not endorsing buying takeout food since it usually requires a lot of packaging. I'm also not endorsing buying beverages from Starbucks (although I do it occasionally) since it also involves packaging, unless you have a refill cup (which I do).

Still, it's worth mentioning these phrases since it's difficult to give up to takeout food and mochas altogether.
Anonymous said…
Strange that your Starbucks won't allow you to order a drink without a lid. I wonder if you have some local rule because I always order drinks without lids, from Starbucks and elsewhere, and have never had a problem. And yes, I do try to remember my reusable cup. And no, getting a drink without a lid is not avoiding plastic altogether because the cups are all lined with plastic. But no ones always perfect. I'm just wondering why you're having that problem with Starbucks.
Jeanne said…
Arg, the cups are lined with plastic? That stinks, but I guess it doesn't really matter since I always have my refill cup with me these days.

As for Starbucks, maybe it's just the one in my building, then. The manager probably has some weird policy or something. Strange...
Anonymous said…
Any paper product that can hold liquid is lined with plastic. Read this post about hidden plastics most people don't think about:


But I do it too occasionally... ask for a cup with no lid when I'm desperate and have forgotten my cup. But yeah, it's still plastic.
Anonymous said…
Check this out! They have re-usable bamboo straws. You can always carry them with you.
Jeanne said…
Anonymous, Thanks for the tip, but I think I'd prefer to go without a straw altogether since they're really not necessary. Also, those bamboo straws come all the way from Laos and they recommend that you boil them in water for 20 minutes to clean them. Not super environmentally friendly.
Anonymous said…
Oh! Life Less Plastic, you beat me to the punch! I was going to say the very same thing about the travel miles and also boiling for 20 mintues. Okay, even if boiling for 20 minutes wasn't a waste of energy, I'm still way too lazy to boil a straw for 20 minutes every time I use it!

I have seen metal straws. Don't know how they're cleaned. And are you old enough to remember paper straws?
Anonymous said…
I'm guessing the lid thing is to protect them from a lawsuit so you don't spill scalding hot coffee on yourself (or anyone else). Anyway, good ideas
Anonymous said…
I recently bought some glass straws from www.glassparadise.com and www.glassdharma.com. I love them. So if you like drinking out of straws this is a great alternative.
Justine said…
Awesome idea. I wrote about your "no straw please" promise on my blog (www.bluegranola.com) to try to get more people to do the same. Thanks!
Anonymous said…
It's a good time to put pressure on your local council to start recycling mixed plastics. Currently, operational issues and low end-product value means that those councils who recycle plastics tend to stick to PET & HDPE bottles. But many are considering taking mixed plastics so they need to know we care!

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