Drinkers encouraged to save the environment and say no to plastic straws

A global wine and spirits company is discouraging the use of plastic straws at future events - sparking up a conversation about the widespread use of throw-away plastics.

Pernod Ricard's strawless stance is putting pressure on cafes, bars and fast food outlets in New Zealand to follow suit and consumers need to also play their part.

Saying bye-bye to what was once a bar essential - plastic drinking straws at Auckland pub Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen will be replaced by cardboard straws next week.

"The times are changing and we all have to take a bit of responsibility for what's happening in the future of the environment," said manager Mark Jackson.

Plastic straws are made from a petroleum by-product and are one of the top ten culprits polluting the environment and killing marine life.

Helen Rupp set up The Rubbish Whisperer which urges businesses to find renewable options for single use plastic products, like straws.

"It's estimated that in New Zealand we use around 200 million plastic straws every year," she said.

"They can last up to 200 years in the ocean and in that time they're available for animals to eat."

Video taken overseas of a straw lodged in a turtle's nasal cavity went viral exposing the harm a simple straw can cause to sea animals - and now there's a push to switch to biodegradable straws.

"They last in your drink, but in sea water they break apart in 3 days… so if they get in the ocean they're not going to be a problem to marine life," Ms Rupp said.

Research both here and overseas show that up to 90 percent of people don't want a straw with their drink and consumers are encouraged to just say no.

Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen owner Barworks Group contains 22 other pubs around Auckland and soon punters will only get a cardboard straw on request.