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In the United States alone, it is estimated that we go through hundreds of millions of plastic straws a day (according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition).

Were you aware that they aren’t recyclable?

Since they are usually manufactured with recyclable plastic material, most consumers assume that plastic straws can be recycled — when in fact curbside and commercial recycling programs don’t accept plastic straws as they jam up the machines at recycling facilities.

That’s why we are excited to bring you the Straw Forward project, an effort led by Pittsburgh restaurants and businesses that will bring attention to this wasteful practice in an artful way. The project will support Lettuce Turnip the Beet Community and School Garden Association, a nonprofit dedicated to support childhood education by educating kids about conservation. 

Throughout the summer and early fall, participating businesses will be collecting used plastic straws. We are working with a local artist who will transform all of these “saved” plastic straws into a large public display. After which we will make sure that they are upcycled appropriately.

It will be an abstract form of1 million straws to resemble a Herring (Sea) Gulls. Herrings flock the Highland Park Bridge. Ornithologist Bob Mulvihill from the National Aviary said the gulls’ presence is a really good sign for the area. It means the water in the Allegheny River and the surrounded environment is getting cleaner and more fertile. The hyperlocal angle is that if in fact sea birds are flocking to our rivers because the environment is clean then why do we still use straws, a tool so ubiquitous, to harm the environment or, better yet, this species in particular.

The sculpture will be a representation of a herring-gull made out of a million straws. Each straw will be documented in terms of color, size and length by the artist. Each straw pick up will be documented so people can find a potential straw they donated in the sculpture.

Do your part to make it a success, If you are a business and would like to participate fill out the form and contact us today. If you have straws fill out the form too and we'll pick them up!

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