If you plan to sip on a drink at a casino run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, plan to do it without a straw.
Seminole Gaming, the tribe’s gaming arm, announced Thursday that its Florida casinos will no longer offer plastic straws beginning Sept. 1. Effective the same day, Seminole-run casinos will eliminate plastic takeout bags in favor of paper ones.
"Seminole Gaming has a long history of sustainability programs, and we are pleased to add more earth-friendly straws and to-go bags to the list," said Tracy Bradford, senior vice president of purchasing, in a release. "As the gaming operation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Seminole Gaming is proud to help make a difference in conscientious sustainability practices — it’s the right thing to do."
Customers who can’t break themselves of their plastic habit can request "durable, earth-friendly" straws instead, Seminole Gaming said.
The no-plastic-straw policy applies to all six of the tribe’s Sunshine State casinos, including the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.
The tribe’s move to ban straws is the latest in a widespread movement against the plastic drinking implements. Environmental groups have long warned that straws can do the most damage when they make it into the waterways. Many were introduced to this danger via a viral image of a sea turtle bleeding from its nostril as researchers removed a 4-inch chunk of a plastic straw.
And there’s significant potential for that to happen again. The National Parks Service estimates that the United States uses about 500 million straws every day. That’s barely a drop in the bucket, though, compared to the 8 million tons of plastic each year that end up in the oceans
Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.