Be Straw Free, says 9-year-old boy

Here and Now

This story was originally covered by PRI’s Here and Now. For more, listen to the audio above.

Though he hasn’t started middle school yet, nine-year-old Milo Cress wants to help save the environment. He’s leading the organization BeStrawFree, which is trying to curb the use of disposable straws throughout the world.

“My mom and I used to write a food column, so we were out in a lot of restaurants,” Cress explains. “And we noticed that if we didn’t order a drink without a straw, it would come with one in it automatically.”

“I thought it was really wasteful,” he says, “and I wondered how many straws were actually used in America every day.” The goal of the organization is to make it standard for restaurants not to offer straws unless they’re asked. He says, “I’d like to see a couple of national chains sign on.”

The organization has started to get some attention, too. The National Restaurant Association recognized Cress, and he spoke with the Governor of Vermont. Children around the world, including Malaysia and Canada, have contacted him, too. He says, “a schoolteacher in Australia wants me to come down and help her students get a similar project started.”

He’s also been contacting straw manufacturers. He says, “I write to them and ask them if they are currently producing reusable straws instead of just disposable.” When he talks to them, he also offers some suggestions. “They don’t have to take it, of course.”


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