A CAMPAIGN group is urging the public to think before they drink and ditch single-use plastic straws.

Litter Free Dorset and Litter Free Coast and Sea, a partnership organisation that work with local community groups, businesses and volunteers to reduce litter, have launched their Christmas campaign #TheLastStraw.

According to the campaign, in the UK and the USA alone, 550 million plastic straws are thrown away every day.

Data from the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean found plastic straws are still in the top 10 items found during beach cleans this year.

Charlie Wild, Litter Free Dorset Project Officer, said: “Straws are something we constantly find on our beach cleans and litter picks here in Dorset. They are an item used on average for 20 minutes and then discarded, but far too often end up as litter in our green spaces and on the beach.

"All straws ever made still exist. As they are made of plastic they just break up into smaller and smaller pieces. We are linking up with the National Union of Students who are working nationally to get people to have #TheLastStraw.”

Earlier this year, pub giant, JD Wetherspoon announced that they would no longer automatically put single-use plastic straws in drinks and, come January 2018, would opt for paper straws instead.

Charlie added: “The heightened awareness of single-use items has come thick and fast this year – straws are just next in line. They are a very quick and simple win for businesses to change either by getting rid of them totally or switching to alternatives.”

In Dorset, businesses are reacting to the change. Boscanova in Bournemouth simply removed straws altogether.

A spokesperson from community group Wimborne War on Waste said: “Plastic straws are one of our real hates. They are so unnecessary and they are often put into drinks without asking if you want them first.

"We are working with pubs in Wimborne to remove plastic straws, so please visit the Thirsty Bird, the White Hart, the Taphouse and the Gin House for a plastic-free experience and tell them how great they are.”

To make your pledge to #TheLastStraw, or for more information about the campaign, visit www.litterfreecoastandsea.co.uk/the-last-straw.