January 22, 2019
Haley Frederick

Among the national conversations that garnered major attention in 2018, perhaps the most unexpected was that of the plastic straw.

Seattle became the first U.S. city to ban plastic straws and utensils in July of last year. Since then, others like San Francisco, Malibu and D.C. have followed with prohibitions of their own. Even the state of California has passed an ordinance on how restaurants use straws.

As several other cities and states debate the issue of such single-use plastics—that is items that are used just once before being thrown away—the city of Pittsburgh has yet to make an official entrance into the conversation. Straw Forward could be the start.

“I think that creating art is such a unique, Pittsburgh way to respond to something,” Sarah Mayer said.

Mayer is a partner at Shift Collaborative, the marketing group that pitched the idea for a plastic straw collection project to Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant last May. Together, they planned to gather straws from local restaurants and turn them into an art installation.

Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant is a program of Sustainable Pittsburgh through which restaurants can be designated as achieving one of four levels of sustainability—bronze, silver, gold or platinum—by meeting certain criteria in the areas of social, economic and environmental sustainability.

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