The owners of Leeds-based restaurant, LIVIN’Italy, and Huddersfield-based creative agency Para, have launched #NoSuckingPlastic, an environmental campaign to replace all plastic straws for an alternative in a bid to reduce plastic waste.

Founded in Granary Wharf, where the River Aire meets the Leeds Liverpool canal and connects to our oceans, the campaign has already cleaned up the local area with supporting businesses including, The Lock, Sky Lounge, Fazenda, LIVIN’Italy and Out of the Woods.

#NoSuckingPlastic aims to encourage bars, cafes and restaurants across Leeds to replace all plastic straws for an alternative and educate consumers on the impact of the waste so they too refuse plastic straws.

The campaign founders, Mattia Boldetti, owner of LIVIN’Italy, and Para agency co-owners, Russ Sealey and Peter Turner, have a shared passion for water sports including surfing and scuba diving, and have first-hand experience of seeing the impact of plastic pollution on our beaches and in our oceans.

Russ commented: “I regularly visit Anglesey and when we’re down on the beach I encourage my kids to collect any plastic waste they see. Other kids on the beach are collecting shells and stones with their parents, sifting through the plastic and leaving it behind. People just don’t seem to think it affects them.”

Mattia added: “Being a restauranteur myself, I know all too well about the amount of plastic waste produced by operations like ours in UK, and I am aware of the difficulties for waste management companies to recycle it.

“Bars and restaurants excessively use plastic straws without considering the impact on the environment. I understand what practical solutions can be implemented to solve the problem, which are feasible, and which are not.

“Myself, Peter and Russ welcomed the recent announcement of the UK’s 2019 plans to ban plastic straws, but we believe a real difference can be made now and we’re eager to push this forward as much as we can until the ban formulates.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jane Dowson, said: “Even the smallest steps to tackle waste and pollution can make a massive difference, and it is the responsibility of all us to ensure that we protect our local environment, so it can be cherished and enjoyed not just now but by future generations to come.

“I am delighted therefore to support this campaign, which working with bars, cafes and restaurants in our city, has set out the ambitious aim of replacing over 1 million plastic straws this year for a more environmentally friendly alternative. This is a tremendous initiative and has the potential to make a real difference in the ongoing fight to reduce plastic waste.”

#NoSuckingPlastic has grown from a handful of businesses at Granary Wharf to several brands across the city and further afield, replacing in excess of 67,000 straws so far and has pledged to replace 1 million plastic straws this year. Supporters to date include, LIVIN’Italy, The Lock, Sky Lounge, Fazenda, Out of the Woods, The Maven, La Bottega Milanese, The Hedonist Project and Picanha Chester.

For more information and to join the campaign please visit, Nosuckingplastic.org

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