After Animas High School students saw a viral video of marine biologists pulling a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nostril, they knew they had a project to try to make this world a little better.
“When we saw this video, we just got super sad, and we thought we could do something to help,” said Greta Cahill, 16, a junior at AHS and president of the Interact Club.
Cahill, whose parents are Art Cahill and Katie Chicklinski-Cahill, said the club plans to set up a booth and sell the straws for $2 each on Noel Night, Dec.7, on Main Avenue.
Isaiah Evans, 14, an AHS freshman, said the group plans to go on an international trip to clean up trash and to help get plastic out of the ocean. Selling straws will help finance the travel.
Evans, whose parents are Sondra Evans and Gilbert Shawcraft, said the Interact Club focuses on community service and tries to take on projects that “help out as much as we can in anyway possible.”
Naima van Tyn, 14, an AHS freshman, said group members began talking about selling metal straws last year when they learned about the damage plastic was causing to the oceans.
“So many plastic straws are wasted every day. We thought it would be a great way to cut down use by using metal straws,” said van Tyn, whose parents are Anne Bartlett and Jeroen van Tyn.
Dan Knapp, kitchen manager at Grassburger in Durango, said the restaurant is moving to replace plastic straws with plant starch-based straws made from corn.
“We were going to go with paper straws, but they were falling apart in the drinks if you didn’t drink quickly,” he said.
Grassburger considered using metal straws, but he said silverware is often thrown away when customers bus their tables, and managers worried they’d have the same issue with metal straws.
“Stewardship of the environment is important to us,” he said. “That’s why we serve grass-sourced beef, and it’s why we’re going away from plastic straws.”