Changing minds on plastic use in Ely, Minnesota

In the “Meet our Starters” series we invite people who start new ideas in their communities to share their stories with the ChangeX community: What gets them excited about an idea, how are they hoping it will benefit the community, how they make it happen.

Abigail is starting The Last Plastic Straw, a campaign encouraging local cafés and restaurants to say no to plastic straws, in her community in Ely. 


In your own words, what is The Last Plastic Straw all about?

Engaging and encouraging thoughtfulness when it comes to consumerist behavior!

Why did you start The Last Plastic Straw? Why is this idea close to your heart?

I want to engage in this movement because I understand that sometimes decisions are made by companies that influence the behaviors of people, and consumers adapt to these practices or ‘social protocols’, not realizing or being informed of the environmental damage they cause.

What’s the difference you are hoping to make by running the Last Plastic Straw campaign?

I hope to not only decrease the use of single-use plastics but enlighten folks to the idea that some social protocols and norms should be reviewed for their safety and environmental effects.

Plastic waste catches my eye mostly when I am grocery shopping. Maybe I can also ask grocers in my area to put up signs reminding folks to use plastic only when they have to? I am actually proud of the Shopko Hometown here, they provide a place to recycle plastic bags!

What are the first steps you took?

When eating out, I request that a straw not be put in my drink, or tell my waiter/waitress that I wouldn’t like one. I also bring tupper-ware with me to store leftovers in.

As another step, when requesting the restaurants in my area to re-evaluate the use of single-use plastics, I would also like to encourage them to serve food only in plastics that are recyclable in our area, or use compostable packaging.

Tell us something about yourself. Have you been involved in community projects before, have you ever started something before? What drives you …

I am on the campaign to Save the Boundary Waters from the proposed copper-nickel mining looking to be operated in the water-rich environment of Northern Minnesota. I also have advocated for the movement to ‘Free the Kinni’. These projects are aimed at helping to best serve the people living in these communities, and not out-dated technology or foreign interest.


Join Abigail’s Last Plastic Straw group in Ely

> Learn how to start The Last Plastic Straw in your community


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