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Kindergartner pushes for straw-free Shoreline

A 5-year-old Shoreline girl is encouraging her community to ditch straws.
Geneva Betnel.

A Shoreline kindergartner challenged city councilmembers and community members last week to give up plastic straws for the month of April to raise awareness about the environmental impact of disposable straws.

“They are a single use plastic that is so prevalent,” said Sara Betnel, whose 5-year-old daughter Geneva pushed for a plastic straw ban in Shoreline. “They are used every day and then thrown away.”

About 500 million plastic straws are used in the United States daily, and many end up in oceans, harming marine life, according to the Lonely Whale Foundation.

The Betnel family committed to going without disposable plastic straws and immediately noticed how difficult it was, because straws are so prevalent.

However, it was only after some of Geneva’s friends petitioned Redmond City Council to ban plastic straws that she wanted to do the same thing in her neighborhood.

Geneva wrote a letter several months ago to Shoreline City Council encouraging them to consider a ban.

“They didn’t go with the ban, but she wanted to challenge them to do more,” Sara said.

Several Shoreline councilmembers agreed to Geneva’s challenge of a straw-free April, and about 200 community members have also committed to the challenge.

Seattle’s ban on plastic straws will go into effect in July.

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