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Nationwide Movement Looks To Replace Plastic Straws With Environmentally-Friendly Options

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Striking out plastic straws. It's a nationwide movement that's looking to replace plastic straws at businesses with more environmentally-friendly options, and it's hitting North Texas especially during DFW Restaurant Week.

EarthX is a Dallas-based environmental organization looking to get people to say "no" to plastic straws.

"In the U.S., we use about 500 million single-use plastic straws in a single day and think about where those straws have to go. They go into our trash. They're not recyclable," said Melanie Yonks of EarthX.

Yonks said they ultimately end up in the ecosystem.

"They break down into microparticles that wind up in our fish, in our birds, and they take hundreds of years to break down," said Yonks.

As part of an effort to "Strike Out Straws," EarthX handed out 40,000 paper straws to DFW restaurants. Their hope is to strike out a million plastic straws by April of 2019.

Paper straws
Paper straws (CBS11)

It's a pledge Al Biernat's has gladly taken.

"The awareness is definitely widespread. Our customers have really brought it to our attention. When they see a plastic straw on the table, they say 'why are you not moving toward paper straws?'" said Brad Fuller, director of operations at Al Biernat's.

For now, plastic straws are available only by request at the restaurant until they are completely eliminated.

"I have worked in the past with children with disabilities, and there are children who cannot use a paper straw. So I have a problem with just only allowing paper straws," said customer Phyllis Bernstein.

"I really appreciate it. I know I've personally switched over to metal straws at my house, so the paper straws are a nice change," said customer Chelsea Colvin.

Yonks expects the movement to continue to grow.

"People are becoming more and more aware every day that this really is an issue," said Yonks.

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