Blackheath Says “No” to Plastic Straws

Blackheath, in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains, Australia, has become the world’s first town in which all the shopfront businesses have agreed to phase out plastic straws.

Thirty businesses – all the cafes, restaurants, bakeries, grocery shops, delicatessens, takeaways, service stations and pubs – now display signage indicating that they will only offer straws on request. Some businesses, like The Piedmont Inn, have already replaced plastic straws with paper straws! A community bulk buy and sponsorship by Aardvark paper straws and Australian distributor Green Pack means that when stocks of plastic straws are depleted, all the other businesses in this popular tourist destination will also offer paper straws instead of plastic.

According to Lis Bastian from The Big Fix, who organised the bulk buy, “We believe that as community awareness rises, more and more people will choose to ‘Say NO!’ to straws, and that the demand, even for paper straws, will decrease. Globally billions of straws are thrown out each day and Blackheath alone has been throwing out around 40,000 straws a month! Because they don’t biodegrade, they are amongst the top plastic pollutants harming our waterways, oceans and ecosystems. This is such a small and easy thing each one of us can do and I’m thrilled that the businesses of Blackheath have worked collaboratively to achieve this milestone” :

1. Victory Cafe

2. Vesta

3. Wattle Cafe

4. Anonymous Cafe

5. Meet Me at Matt’s

6. Cabin & Co Cafe

7. Bakehouse on Wentworth

8. Ashcrofts Bistro

9. The Piedmont Inn

10. New Ivanhoe Hotel

11. The Gardners Inn

12. Thai Silk Restaurant

13. Govetts Cafe

14. Altitude Delicatessen

15. Blackheath Continental Deli

16. IGA Blackheath

17. This Little Piggy Wiggy Gourmet Delicatessen

18. Blackheath Vegie Patch

19. Blue Jax Restaurant at the George Boutique Hotel

20. Glenella

21. Ho’s Palace Chinese and Seafood Restaurant

22. Harry Phillips Studio Restaurant at Redleaf Resort

23. Escarpment Tapas Restaurant

24. Base Camp Cafe and Nepalese Restaurant

25. Blackheath Friendly Grocer

26. Blackheath Bakery and Patisserie

27. United Blackheath Station Minimart

28. Blackheath Fish and Chips Shop

29. Blackheath Newsagency

30. Blackheath Public School Canteen

31. Pizza Delish (serves no straws)

Photo by Giselle Malherbe  

While paper straws cost more than plastic, participants in Blackheath’s Youth Cafe, pictured above, say ‘Straws Suck!’ They’d be more than happy to pay 5c extra to cover the cost of a biodegradable alternative, but are even happier to ditch straws altogether. They’re keen to make using straws the most undesirable choice!


Next on the town’s list is plastic bags!

About Planetary Health Initiative

Blue Mountains City Council’s Planetary Health Initiative is working in collaboration with the Mountains Community Resource Network, Lithgow City Council, Western Sydney University’s Lithgow Transformation Hub, and the Sustainability Workshop, to establish this communications platform on behalf of the community. It is supported by a grant from the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) which is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.

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