What a year it’s been for Straw No More, as we continued to grow our army of Strawbassadors across the country. Strawbassadors are ordinary kids, just like Molly, who are on a mission to help reduce single use plastics in their own schools, towns and regions. We encourage them to visit local businesses, to speak to their elected representatives and to raise awareness wherever possible.
As awareness increases of the issues surrounding single use plastic pollution, we love seeing all the extra people who are finding ways to reduce their plastic consumption.
We’ve now had over 1600 schools take the Straw No More pledge, along with 1200 businesses. Combined, this totals about 900 thousand people who are engaging in this campaign to reduce their single use plastics consumption.
The year started with a meeting with Prime Minister ScoMo in January where he said (on video!) that he supports Straw No More being introduced to the Federal Parliament. ScoMo got a nice T-shirt for his efforts!
Leichhardt MP has been a huge supporter of Straw No More since it started in 2017, and it was an honour to be named as his inspiration for his plan to formulate a single-use plastics policy in his last term in parliament. Politics is a funny game, and allies can come from places you least expect. But Red, Blue or Green: We don’t care what colour your shirt is … We’ll happily work with anyone who can help us save the Great Barrier Reef and rid the oceans of single-use plastics.
Also, in May, Molly attended the STEAM AHEAD Festival at Western Sydney Parklands to address a sea of young people who were so passionate about helping the environment. She also addressed an auditorium of students at the Sustainable Schools Symposium at the Gold Coast, alongside Melati Wijsen from Bali’s Bye Bye Plastic Bags initiative, and Kareem El-Ansary the UN Youth Ambassador.
In June, Molly took a seat at the International Online Summit “A Solution to Plastic Pollution” alongside some other amazing eco-warriors from across the planet.
She also spoke to 300 Year 9 students at yLead, a traveling roadshow supporting Australian schools in developing a generation of confident, motivated and skilled young leaders.
Just after that, we were at Gladstone EcoFiesta to share the exciting news that Gladstone Regional Council had taken the Straw No More pledge and would cease using single use plastics in all of its operations.
July was also pretty crazy busy!
Early in the month, it was a really exciting experience to attend the International Ocean Heroes Bootcamp at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. This bootcamp, run by the Lonely Whale Foundation, saw Youth Ocean Activists from across the globe focus on their campaigns for the greater good.
Then, on July 18th, after more than a year of petitioning McDonalds with the help of the team at ABC’s War on Waste, Maccas finally rolled out the first of its 990 Australian restaurants. There’s still a long way to go, and we’ll keep working to help them make better choices around their plastic packaging.
September was also a busy month!
On September 4th, following in the footsteps of all Queensland local councils doing the same, the Queensland Parliament took the Straw No More pledge. We had been working towards this for quite some time, as it means it will open doors for other states to do the same.
We have some very passionate StrawBassadors in South Australia who are tenaciously working to get their local councils on board, and it was great to see so many of them take the Straw No More pledge this year.
We are paying a lot of attention at local government level in the hopes that it will lead to the ultimate goal of having Parliament House in Canberra do the same.
Also, in September, we were excited to welcomed Toby from Boomerang Alliance to Cairns, and to help with the rollout of the "Plastic Free Cairns” initiative in 2020.
We also loved working with the Amateurs Horse Racing Carnival to help it continue on its plastic straw free mission for the second year in a row.
And we had a quick trip to SeaWorld to learn about the challenges they face with single use plastics, and while its’ going to be a big job, we are excited to work with them on reducing their plastic consumption.
In October, we formed a partnership with Zero Co, an Australian company on a mission to rid our kitchens and laundry of plastic containers by introducing home cleaning products in eco-friendly containers.
In November, the Queensland government announcement it will be banning many single-use plastic items, including straws, cutlery and plates. Molly had the opportunity to speak to the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference and spread the Straw No More message to hundreds of tourism operators from across the Asia Pacific.
Also in November, it was an honour to take out the 2019 Queensland Landcare award for Waterways Protection, meaning we’re off to the National Landcare awards in Sydney in 2020.
In December, Molly began working with the Federal Government on "The Academy for Enterprising Girls” initiative, which launched at Parliament House in Canberra with the aim of helping young girls participate in STEM subjects.
We also ducked down to Melbourne for a campaign with Clarks school shoes, who are manufacturing the soles of their new range using recycled plastic, alongside another 11 year old activist Jack Berne from Fiver For A Farmer. The "In Their Footsteps" campaign launches in January.
2020 is gearing up to be just as busy as this year is. We’ve already made lots of plans to keep spreading the Straw No More message, and we’d love you to keep up to date with what we’re doing on Facebook and Instagram.
Thanks for all your support over the past couple of years. It’s been great to see how far one little ripple of an idea can travel.