In an attempt to help reduce the amount non-biodegradable plastic waste that ends up in landfills and waterways, San Antonio Zoo is leading a local awareness effort called “Straws No Mas”. The campaign, set to roll out city-wide over the next month, encourages businesses and consumers to reduce the use of single-use plastic straws and other single use plastics.

The zoo is leading the “Straws No Mas” campaign with a consortium that includes San Antonio Restaurant Association, San Antonio Hotel and Lodging Association, San Antonio Area Tourism Council and others in the community.

Their goal is to promote the proactive removal and/or reduction of plastic straws and single-use plastic whenever possible at area hotels, restaurants, bars, attractions and even households. The campaign will include social media posts, graphics, public service announcements, and a website where these entities and citizens can take a pledge to be more eco-conscious.

Concerned about the damage plastic straws and single-use plastic can cause to wildlife, the zoo has never allowed single use plastic straws and has removed much of the single-use plastic from its operations. Guests can purchase reusable cups, cup toppers, and reusable straws, and the zoo offers alternatives to the single-use plastics they have removed.

Zoo staff members even experimented with hollowed out pasta shells to use as drinking straws. In addition, the zoo catering and culinary departments use eco-friendly utensils made from wood products and non-GMO plant-based plastic. The zoo gift shops also use paper bags made of recycled paper.

Major companies like Starbucks and American Airlines have already said they'll stop using plastic straws in an effort to help curb pollution.