Above: Town Manager Andy Nota holds the box of hundreds of straws resident Sue Glennon brought to show the Town Council.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Sue Glennon is the kind of person who picks up trash when she walks. In June, while walking north from the boat launch at Goddard Park, Glennon started counting the number of straws she was picking up: 43, 28, 51, 60…. 

A page from Sue Glennon’s straw collection log.

She walks that route several times a week and she started keeping a log of the number of straws she picked up. Some were red, some were green (cue Starbucks) but the vast majority were black, the type served with drinks at restaurants. 


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How come they were ending up along the shore at Goddard Park? Where were they coming from? Across the cove, Finn’s Harborside, Nautika, and Blu on the Water all use black straws for their drinks. Paper straws are great in theory but do not work well with frozen drinks, a popular item in the summer. And many diners are eating outside, where wind can easily blow the lightweight tubes into the water.

Blu on the Water is researching installing a trash skimmer on one of their docks, which could help. 

Glennon said she just wanted the Town Council to know. The council just passed a new ordinance banning single-use plastic bags (not yet in effect), following several other communities. Only Barrington, the leader on the bag ban, has so far banned other types of single-use plastics, including plastic utensils, cups and … straws.


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