SUMMIT— This Union County city has launched the Skip the Straw campaign to reduce plastic straw waste.

Mayor Nora Radest says the initiative is a community campaign by residents and businesses to get rid of plastic straws, which harm the environment.

Radest said plastic straws are not recyclable because of the type of plastic they are made from, so they jam recycling sorting machines and enter waterways where they can harm marine life.

Radest is encouraging people to order drinks in restaurants without a straw or to carry a reusable straw.

Businesses are asked to make a voluntary commitment to serve plastic straws only on request, or they can switch to non-plastic straws.

While most businesses are on board, Radest recognized that there are some businesses where this might be hard to do. For example, it might be tough for the Smoothie King to serve a smoothie without a straw.

Radest would like the initiative to continue as long as possible. The goal is for this to become a behavioral change where one day nobody is using a plastic straw.

She said next summer, the farmer's market is taking the plastic initiative a step further. It plans to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags. Merchants and vendors will instead have paper and compost bags.

It campaign is organized by the Summit Department of Community Services, Recycling Advisory Committee, Environmental Commission and Green Summit.

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