Beach restaurants ditching straws

- You can get lost on the white powdery sand of Anna Maria Island.  Along with its beautiful views, tourists from all over are drawn to the area, but trash can sometimes get in the way of that view.

"I go out there and clean my tables and there will be tons of paper and straws on the beach," complained Sandbar restaurant server Brianna Nelson.  "It's just something you don't really expect but it happens throughout the day."

Straws are among the top items beach cleanup crews find statewide.  Now, the Sandbar and their sister restaurants, the MarVista and the Beach House, are ditching their straws to help make a difference.

"They are kind of unsure about it because anywhere you go you, will see a straw or two. But you come here and they are like, why? They want to know more. You go in-depth and then they really understand the benefits of it even if they didn't know prior to coming here," said Nelson.

Straws are no longer given to customers unless they ask for them. And once customers hear the reason, they understand.

"I honestly noticed it when they didn't give me one," said Cameron Glaeser.  "It is such a small item, it's not something I would think about typically."

If customers do want a straw, they are given an eco-friendly one.

"We have straws for those who want to have straws. We are moving to a biodegradable product so when someone requests a straw we will do that," said owner Ed Chiles.

It is a small change that Chiles hopes will have a big impact on people and the environment.

"Maybe we can all just modify our habits a little bit and that will make a little difference. One more small step."
 

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