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Straw Free September™

Straw Free September™ is a social media campaign run by Our Seas Our Future to encourage businesses, and the general public to pledge to stop using single-use plastic straws for a month, with a goal to adopt the change.

This campaign has now concluded, having played an important role in shifting behaviour (through active engagement and raising awareness) around single-use plastic straws with businesses, communities and the general public. You can continue to support the Straw Free September campaign via the active social media page linked below.

Why focus on Straws?

The use of single-use plastic straws has only increased globally since its invention. In 2019, New Zealanders were estimated to have consumed around 200 million plastic straws [1].

The New Zealand government has a plan to reduce single-use plastics such as plastic straws, tableware (plates, bowls, cutlery), and cotton buds, and is proposing to phase them out by 2025 [2]. We don’t have to wait until 2025 or beyond to take action on New Zealand’s growing waste problem. While it may seem overwhelming to cut out all single-use plastics at once, we can take small achievable steps. The ‘low hanging fruit’ like the plastic single-use straw is an easy way to make more sustainable and environmentally friendly choices.

Why Straw Free September?

By 2050, it is predicted that the ocean will have more plastic than fish [3]. Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items collected from beach cleanups [4]. Millions of straws end up in the ocean every year, polluting the water, posing a danger to sea turtles, seabirds, fish and other sea life.
Pollution is one of the biggest issues facing our oceans and coasts. An estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic entered the oceans in 2010 from people living within 50 kilometres of the coast in 192 countries [5].

You can take action against plastic pollution, starting with plastic straws this September and beyond. Join the movement against single-use plastic straws and take action by refusing to use them, and encouraging others to do the same.

  1. Our Auckland, Ditching that single-use straw will make a difference, (2019).
  2., Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items, (2020).
  3. Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics, (2016). 
  4. Ocean Conservancy, The Beach and Beyond: International Coastal Cleanup 2019 report, (2019).
  5. Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Jenna R. Jambeck et al. Science 347, 768 (2015).

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Ask your bartender or waiter ‘no straw please’ with your drinks. Every less straw makes a difference to the ocean’s health.
  2. Take snaps at your favourite places who help reduce straw waste. We want to get to know them, and you! Make sure you hashtag #StrawFreeSeptember.
  3. Take snaps at your favourite places who help reduce straw waste. We want to get to know them, and you! Make sure you hashtag #StrawFreeSeptember.
  4. Bring your own! There are heaps of New Zealand companies selling alternative options that you can carry on the go. We have some great partners who make plastic straw alternatives.
  5. Ask your favourite establishment to go Straw Free! There are alternatives they can offer such as metal straws.
  6. Share our page/post to get your friends and family to go Straw Free too!
  7. Businesses can contact us to register their interest, and be featured on our website and social media.

Downloadable Resources:


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