Rangiora to become New Zealand's first straw-free town

A campaign is under way to make Rangiora the first New Zealand town to give up on plastic straws. The idea's taking off, with five eateries already on board - and the rest under pressure to follow suit. 

At Fools of Desire Café in Rangiora, every straw is fully recyclable. They're all made from either paper or metal.

"It feels exactly the same, but it's not going to end up in the landfill," says one impressed customer.

Owner Elisa Leach is on a mission to get the entire town of 18,000 to follow her example.

"We've been doing it for 18 months, so we know it's possible," she told Newshub. 

"We put out a challenge to other cafés and other restaurants to do the same."

The business owner made the call to arms after watching footage of a plastic straw being removed from a turtle's nostril.

She's now actively lobbying all local businesses to give up on straws to help reduce the 200 million thrown away in New Zealand every year.

It looks like it's working. Ms Leach says the effort has won over five cafés and restaurants so far, as well as the support of the Council.

"I think it's a wonderful idea, and Waimakariri District Council are right behind it," says councillor Wendy Doody.

Also joining the sustainable straw movement is the local Monteith's bar, much to the surprise of Bob Blair.

"You'd be hard pressed to describe me as a greenie," he told Newshub.

The bar will keep plastic straws, but only provide them on request.

"If you'd asked me 20 years ago, or 10 years even probably, I wouldn't have been interested at all," says Mr Blair. 

"But, you know, times are changing and you have to recognise that times are changing."