Earth students take a stand against plastic pollution

18 January 2018

Plastic straws

Environmental Geography students Nia Jones and Douglas Lewns have set up a campaign to end the use of plastic straws in Cardiff.

No Straw Stand is urging businesses to stop using plastic straws in Cardiff and further afield. It aims to encourage businesses and customers to think about the small things they can do to help the environment and make Cardiff a greener, cleaner and more sustainable place to live.

Already passionate about the environment, studying Environmental Geography has enabled Nia and Douglas to see the scale of the problem and the impact of small changes first hand.

Douglas said: “I think studying Environmental Geography, for both of us, has really increased the scale at which we view environmental pollution, and how often it can seem like an almost impossible task. One thing that really resonated with us throughout the modules and lectures was the urgency at which action needs to be taken.  That's where a lot of this came from, wanting to do something that everyone could take part in, establishing a community that could make an impact on Cardiff.“

Environmental Geography students Nia Jones and Douglas Lewns
Environmental Geography students Nia Jones and Douglas Lewns

To date, Nia and Douglas have had 19 local businesses sign up to stop using plastic straws, including Got Beef and Brodies Coffee Co. They’ve recently also added the well-known UK restaurant chain Wahaca up as a supporter.

Nia said: “We were really pleased. We sent out a few emails at the beginning to target small businesses and then we decided to go for bigger businesses which still have an ethical ethos. Wahaca have a big drive to protect the oceans and use sustainable fish but they still had plastic straws. At first they said they tried paper straws but they didn’t work. So we emailed them and said we have biodegradable straws but we didn’t think anything of it. Then we got an email to say that we had played a really big part in them coming to their decision. It was a key moment for us.”

Nia and Douglas plan to target the capital’s coffee shops next.