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Carolina Forest woman leads campaign to rid the Grand Strand of straws

If you really want to sip drinks from a straw, you’ll need to bring your own to the Grand Strand where many restaurants and attractions are participating in a grassroots campaign to get rid of plastic pollution.

The Strand Strawless Summer is organized by Cathy Tourloukis of Carolina Forest, who has already convinced more than 30 local businesses to take the straws off the menu.
“Straws are the easiest thing to get rid of, people just use them because they are given one,” Tourloukis said.

Many people believe they need straws because cups aren’t clean enough and they don’t want their mouths touching the glass.

But Tourloukis isn’t buying that excuse. Diners should insist on clean glassware, she said.

“People don’t use straws for beer or wine glasses — they don’t put straws in coffee. Why do they think that just the (water and soda) glasses are not clean?” Tourloukis asked.

“If they really a need a straw, they can bring a reusable straw with them,” Tourloukis said.

Businesses participating include Brookgreen Gardens and Ripley’s Aquarium. With thousands of restaurants and other attractions that serve drinks along the Grand Strand, Tourloukis says her goal is to eliminate straws from 100 businesses this summer.

“When you go to the Boardwalk, there’s always straws littered everywhere, it’s just inevitable,” Tourloukis said.

She, like many environmentalists, are worried about the litter as well as how it affects birds, wildlife and ocean creatures.

“It’s so easy to do, you just don’t give out a straw unless a customer asks for it,” she said.

To stay up to date on which businesses are participating, check out the Plastic Free Myrtle Beach Facebook page here.