March is Skip the Straw Month

March is Skip the Straw Month in Hillsborough and across Orange County.

Restaurant patrons are encouraged to decline a straw or use compostable or reusable straws.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, which launched the Skip the Straw movement, over 9 million straws have been picked up during more than 30 years of Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup days.

It is estimated that every day more than 500 million plastic straws are used in the United States. Straws and other single-use plastics kill sea turtles and other marine life as well as marine birds when the animals accidentally ingest the plastic.

Last fall, the Orange County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution declaring March to be Skip the Straw Month and asked the towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough to do the same. The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners passed its resolution in October.

Orange County is hosting two free screenings of the 30-minute documentary “Straws” this month:  

7 p.m. March 25 at the Varsity Theater, 123 E. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill

7 p.m. March 26 at the Orange County Public Library, 137 W. Margaret Lane

Following each screening, there will be a reception featuring a talk by “Straws” director Linda Booker. The receptions will include local food and beverages, and representatives from environmental clubs will be on hand to talk more about what you can do to help. Bonnie Monteleone, founding director of the Wilmington-based Plastic Ocean Project, will also speak at The Varsity. The Hillsborough event will include a reading by local author and artist Bryant Holsenbeck from her book “The Last Straw,” about her year of living without single-use plastics. Space is limited at the screenings. To reserve a seat, call 919-968-2788 or email

Orange County is also recognizing businesses that are offering straws only upon request, offering only compostable straws, or eliminating straws. Orange County is compiling a list of restaurants that have notified the county about taking one of those three actions. Individuals can sign a pledge of support as well.


A version of this article was originally published by the Town of Hillsborough.