Clean Ocean Clothing with Mary Bedore.

When Mary Bedore agreed to chat with me I was geeked. Someone else in Marquette, MI that hates plastic, count me in!

plastic straws suck
 
In the beginning my venture of taking on plastic I know few people in my life how truly cared. So, you can say I'm kind of a sucker to chat with this new environmentalist. Maybe she could help me understand the worlds bazar obsession with the straw
 
Early on Tuesday morning I walked into one of Marquette's historic pubs. It was a dimly lit and still felt cool from the evening air still rolling around in the empty, vast space. Only a few beams of the morning sunlight were coming through the eastern windows. I could just make out the Lower Ore Dock out the back window as I strolled up to a small side table where a women was busy working on a laptop. It was Mary! She met me with a big, friendly smile. I knew this was going to be a great start to the day. 
 
Before I get into our conversation, I want to bring you all up to speed. The Vierling Restaurant and Marquette Harbor Brewery announced June 5, 2018 that they would be making a big change: The Vierling will be taking a number of steps over the next several months to take their part in cutting back on waste.
 
Mary already had the power keg, but she was waiting for the spark to ignite the movement. That spark would come from the Doyle family’s daughter who had recently traveled overseas and experienced the detrimental impact that plastic is having on the planet. 

Mary and I started off with some small talk and I thanked her for giving me some time before she started with orders and scheduling for the day. We both agree that it is peculiar how styrofoam containers, plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic cups - and a lot more - are used once and thrown away. We wonder how this has become ok, the norm. Mary struggled looking for an organization that wasn't just focused on the ocean, but on the transitions business needed to take to reduce their waste. She finally came across The Last Plastic Straw (thelastplasticstraw.org), which is a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition. She told me this organization was really helpful as it had videos to help with training waitstaff, as well as resources she could employ at The Vierling. 
 
Through the coming months as they are able to transition from what they currently have in stock to new inventory, patrons will also see them get rid of styrofoam containers, plastic straws, plastic bar picks, plastic liter bottles and plastic bags. A week after the announcement was made on Facebook Mary told me her servers have recorded handing out only twenty straws. It’s a start!

During our conversation session an idea blossomed: let’s create a program for a downtown free of plastic straws. Mary was quoted by the local news station TV6 that "we really would like to see this be a thing that the whole city can get around, whether it's in your own personal life or seeing other restaurants hop on board, too, and see what kind of contribution we can make." Marquette would be the first in the U.P. And the first in Michigan!

Are you interested in supporting these efforts? Would you like to know how to transition your business?

Email cleanoceanclothing@gmail.com to join the #plasticstrawfreeMQT movement! And don’t forget support your local business like the The Vierling, Iron Bay and Stuckos Pub Grill who have chosen to reduce their plastic use.
 

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