Do You Really Need That Plastic Straw?
It's a question Arlington teen Kayla Peale is urging restaurants to ask their customers.
While on a summer community service trip to the Mediterranean, Arlington teen Kayla Peale saw marine animals that had been harmed by plastic pollution. “I started realizing how much plastic we all use in one day and [wanted] to see how to minimize it,” says the Yorktown High School junior. “I thought I could make a little change.”
So she organized an after-school club called “For a Strawless Sea.” Its mission: to encourage local restaurants to cut down on single-use plastic straws by offering them to customers only upon request. Working in partnership with the local advocacy group EcoAction Arlington, the 35-member club is raising community awareness about the harms of plastic pollution. Meanwhile, Peale is already thinking beyond straws. “There are also takeout containers. And the school cafeteria has a ton of single-use plastic,” says the teen (whose mom, interior designer Erica Peale, is featured in our cover story on page 46). “There are more steps we can take. Maybe we can get the school board involved. Maybe, eventually, Arlington could be plastic free.”