Chicago White Sox join Shedd's movement to ban plastic straws

Two Chicago institutions in the hospitality business are joining forces to reduce waste and help the planet by supporting a growing movement to eliminate the use of plastic straws.

Officials for the White Sox say their concession partners at Guaranteed Rate Field are joining officials from Shedd Aquarium to support their "Shedd the Straw" initiative, which began a year ago.

According to the White Sox, they will be the first team in Major League Baseball to serve drinks during games without an accompanying plastic straw for this season and beyond.

Here's how the program will work, according to a White Sox news release:

• Beginning on Sunday (Earth Day) when the White Sox host the Houston Astros, drinks at all locations throughout Guaranteed Rate Field will not be automatically served with plastic straws.

• Biodegradable straws will be available upon request.

What's the issue?

Americans use more than 500 million straws every day, and and millions of non-recyclable plastics end up polluting oceans, lakes and rivers.

Plastic straws do not biodegrade naturally in the environment and are nearly impossible to recycle. By eliminating plastic straws this season, the White Sox and their hospitality partners expect to keep more than 215,000 straws from being used.

The United Kingdom will implement a ban on plastic straws as early as next year, according to news reports. Other countries are considering similar policies as well. Several cities in the United States, including Malibu, California, and Seattle, Washington, also have banned the straws.

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