Friday, April 15, 2011

Write a Letter... Get a Free Glass Straw!!!

Every time I do a 20 minute beach clean up... it's (unfortunately) guaranteed that we're going to find littered straws.  Some days we find so many that I count the straws before I count cigarette butts....On Day 11, we picked up 26 straws in 20 minutes.... and on Day 52, we removed 21 straws in 20 minutes.  :(  
Starting on Day 55, I have begun tallying the number of straws we find during our 20 minute clean ups.  So far the two day tally is at 18.
Before we started doing the 20 minute clean ups... my husband and I were pretty good about REFUSING straws (yes, we even ditched lids on drinks in order to not use a straw).... but after picking up SO many at Wrightsville Beach (and other places around town).... it became obvious to us that we needed to ALWAYS refuse them.... saying "No Thank You" to a straw in our drinks has become second nature to us (yes, even our 3 young children refuse straws!!).  

After doing our 4th 20 minute clean up back in September, it became clear to us that a lot of the litter... including the majority of straws we find at access 36 find their way to the beach from the restaurant's dining pier.  I made the decision to contact the restaurant to make them aware of what we were finding AND to offer suggestions to the problem.  

I shared my letter here.... and encouraged everyone to write a letter to a restaurant.  NOW... I want to encourage you to participate in this GlassDharma restaurant letter writing initiative!! GlassDharma is motivated to make a difference and they are willing to put FREE glass straws where your lips are!

You read right... FREE glass straws!!

All you have to do is write a letter to a restaurant, suggesting ways they might reduce single use plastic straw trash and GlassDharma will send you a FREE glass straw!!  YAY!!!  

Ok... I'm super excited about this because I can't remember the last time I used a straw AND their straws are "kid-friendly"!!  Of course, I will be writing some letters!!  Some suggestions for how restaurants could reduce the use of single use straws are to: Ask customers if they want a straw, instead of automatically giving them one;  Make the switch to paper or reusable straws; and to recommend the restaurant offer GlassDharma drinking straws as an upgrade to their menu. (<--- how cool would that be?!?)

OK... so are you ready?!?  Here are the deets:

  1. Write and send a snail mail* letter  to a restaurant -- (up to 5 different restaurants for up to 5 free straws!!)  *NO emails
  2. Copy your letter, please include full contact information of the restaurant, into a comment on this blogpost :)
  3. Send an email to with a copy of your letter, including contact info of the restaurant AND your personal contact info so that a free GlassDharma Glass Straw can be mailed to you.  **Contact information for entrants and restaurants must include, name, mailing address and email address.  Please note: Participants from the US and Canada are only eligible to participate in this contest.

For writing the letter... or hopefully letters!!...and including all of the required contact information, a GlassDharma Simple Elegance Glass Straw (SE9.5NA8) will be mailed to you directly from the GlassDharma manufacturing facility in Fort Bragg, CA!! Yes, each participant gets a free glass straw!  One free straw per entry (multiple entries, up to 5, must include a different restaurant for each entry). 

GlassDharma will award one Grand Prize Winner a $100.00 gift certificate coupon code.  Entries received through 4/30/2011 and all straws will be shipped May 2- 4.  The Grand prize drawing to be held on 5/4/2011.

OK... So are you ready to make a difference?!?  I am... and I know just the 5 restaurants I'll be writing :) 

Here's one:
703 S. Lumina Ave
Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480

 Dear Oceanic:

As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that you all use reusable dishes, real flatware, and glasses. I know that when we eat at Oceanic, we’ll have a waste-free meal, that is, as long as we ask for no straws. As a family that participates in regular beach clean ups, we have found that straws are one of the most littered items on our beach (and worldwide). Knowing that so many straws are littered, our family of five makes a conscious effort to not use plastic straws.

In honor of Earth Month, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy.

1. Why not train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one? Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place.

2. Doing beach clean ups we find a good majority of plastic straws that have flown from the Oceanic dining pier. I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (

3. Please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. There is a US company called Glass Dharma. On their website they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants, which I think is a great idea. (

I would greatly appreciate it if you would please let me know which steps you are willing to take. Besides the amazing selection of seafood, Oceanic is the only restaurant in Wrightsville Beach that overlooks the breathtaking views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean; I’d love for Oceanic to take steps to help preserve that beauty.


Danielle Richardet