Fast food joints, cafes and bars join New Zealand's straw-free movement

Momentum is building in the fight against single-use plastics.

The Uptown Business Association on the fringes of central Auckland is the first district to declare a plastic straw ban in the supercity.

"Giving up plastic straws is a very simple, easy thing to do and it will make a very big difference," says events manager Helen Shrewsbury.

Up until now, the Uptown area of small cafes and restaurants has used half a million straws a year.

"Eco-straws are slightly more expensive but people just don't want a straw," Ms Shrewsbury says.

Environmental artist Brydee Rood says there is no excuse anymore.

"We just need to stop. Where legislation comes in handy is it does give people a real push."

She's turning the Uptown Business Association's 15,000 leftover straws into an art display.

"I would love to see all of Auckland go plastic straw free, and then why not all of New Zealand?"

Brothers Brewery is one of the 100 businesses which have voted no to plastic straws.

"I think there is a good trend right now of getting rid of our plastic disposables," says site manager Brody Bavin.

"For us especially, we are completely straw free."

Wellington waterfront has already gone plastic straw-free, and so have parts of Christchurch.

"We've been running clean ups at Sustainable Coastlines since 2009," says the environmental organisation's general manager Ryley Webster.

"We've picked up over 60,000 straws on coastlines around New Zealand."

It's not just cafes - fast food joints are also exploring their options. Burger Fuel is phasing them out from next week, while Burger King wants them gone by the end of the year.

McDonalds wants to be 100 percent recyclable by 2025, and KFC is also looking into it.

"It is a collective responsibility, and the fact that businesses are also looking at doing their part is great and I think the Government really starts to listen to that," says Mr Webster.

But the Ministry for the Environment says the shift needs to come from the bottom up. They want consumers to drive the change by "voting with their wallets".


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