Final straw as city centre cocktail bars introduce environmental pledge

The Alchemist has become the latest group to stop serving plastic straws with drinks from their bar, in a policy designed to cut down on the amount of plastic disposed of in the ocean.

The molecular mixology bar, which has venues in Trinity Leeds and on Greek Street, will still serve plastic straws upon request, but will not be provided as standard.

170726 Alchemist Tiny Schwantz

Straws are usually made from polypropylene, a petroleum-based synthetic designed to last forever, and have consistently been one of the ten most commonly found items on beaches during the International Coastal clean-up project in the past 25 years.

It’s estimated that more than one million sea-birds and a hundred thousand marine mammals such as whales and dolphins are killed by the five trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans, as of 2014.

With ten sites across the UK, The Alchemist’s policy to cut back on providing the straws as standard could reduce the amount of non-recyclable plastic that ends up in the ocean by over around 200,000 pieces a month.

170726 Alchemist Sea Turtle
Sea turtle with a plastic straw lodged in his nasal cavity.

“Most straws are not recyclable, yet many bars and restaurants relentlessly provide these for customers, sometimes even two at a time.” says Alchemist Managing Director Simon Potts. “We want to educate and engage with our customers about the environmental impact of ditching straws, and I’m sure our customers will welcome it with open arms.

"Straws are still available upon request; however they will not be served as standard and this little change is going to save the Alchemist an estimated two million straws per year. We hope other operators follow in our footsteps.”