Even the Straw Emoji Needs to Go, Says Environmentalists

Even the Straw Emoji Needs to Go, Says Environmentalists

Ditching a single-use plastic straw from your drink is one of the easiest ways to make a positive change for the environment, but should you cut the plastic promotion from your phone too?

According to comedian and activist Daniel Franzese, Unicode needs to do its bit for the fight against plastic pollution by removing straws from its emojis.

In partnership with Bacardi and ocean-focused incubator Lonely Whale, Franzese wrote a “cease and de-sip” letter to the computing company, which is responsible for the handling of text in most of the world’s computer systems. The letter was written from the point of view of a fictional turtle named Sydney.

“I was honored when Sydney first floated her anti-emoji straw campaign by me, mainly because I shared the same salty feelings about single-use plastic straws,” said Franzese. “I challenge not only Unicode, but everyone to join and pledge so we can ensure a bright future for Sydney and her marine life friends.”

Even the Straw Emoji Needs to Go, Says Environmentalists
Will doing away with plastic straw emojis influence throwaway culture?

Barcadi is also in support of Sydney. The international spirit brand ran its first #NoStraws campaign back in 2016, eliminating straws from its cocktails.

“Marine life is badly affected by plastic waste in our waterways, and refusing disposable plastics, such as the single-use plastic straw, is a simple way that each of us can take action,” Jacob Briars, the global advocacy director for Barcadi, said in a statement.

“One of the world’s most popular cocktails is the ‘tropical cocktail emoji’ with millions ‘served’ every year. Yet every one of those comes with a straw,” he added.

“To draw attention to the use of straws in a lighthearted way, we hope we can get our digital symbols to reflect the work Barcadi, as well as hundreds of bars, and thousands of cocktails drinkers, are doing to reject single use plastic straws in real life (the drinks are better too IRL),” he continued.

Ditching your straw is a good place to start in terms of reducing plastic use. However, according to a study from last year, the problem is much bigger than our drinking habits. Although straws, bags, bottles, and other single-use items are undoubtedly filling up our oceans, nearly half of plastic pollution is made up of fishing nets.

Adam Minter of Bloomberg wrote last August, “the impact of this junk goes well beyond pollution. Ghost gear, as it’s sometimes called, goes on fishing long after it’s been abandoned, to the great detriment of marine habitats.”