Local restaurants have organised a public beach clean-up in the hope of encouraging other hospitality businesses to do their bit for the environment.
The Rising Tide and the Papamoa Tavern will host beach clean-ups at Papamoa and Mount Maunganui on Saturday, February 17, to launch a campaign to promote the downfall of the single-use plastic straw.
Both restaurants have ditched plastic straws and hoped the coinciding beach clean-ups would encourage other hospitality businesses to follow suit.
The clean-up comes as NZME, publisher of the Bay of Plenty Times and The New Zealand Herald, today launches a special series on illegal rubbish dumping.
The Rising Tide's general manager, Lisa Rooney, was expecting a big turnout and said the plan was to invite eco organisations offering plastic alternatives to each clean-up.
At each venue, the organisations were invited to hold a booth with information and examples for local businesses who were pondering the idea of going plastic-straw free.
"There has been about 70 to 80 local organisations sharing it around on Facebook," Rooney said.
She said there had been a lot of rubbish left lying around after the busy summer season particularly around Mount Maunganui.
"I think we are generally pretty clean but if you go looking for it there is a lot of it," she said. "I have picked up a lot of fishing line."
Prior to the beach clean-up, The Rising Tide screened a documentary about the effects of ocean plastic on February 12.
The beach clean-up would finish with a jam night where The Rising Tide will set a challenge for other restaurants to go straw free for March.
Papamoa Tavern general manager Kerry Bollen said the beach clean-up will launch their straw-free campaign on February 17.
Bollen said the clean-up would be a relaxed atmosphere for people to do their bit for the environment.
"We don't expect everyone to walk for two hours, just come down and pick up some rubbish. If you want to go hard, go hard, if you want to go easy, by all means go easy."
Bollen did not know how many people to expect, but the Facebook page had over 70 people accepting the invitation and more than 600 people interested.
"It was just a good way to raise awareness," she said.
After a maximum two-hour clean-up, participants would be invited back to The Rising Tide or Papamoa Tavern for a complimentary hot dog or burger and a soft drink in each bar's afternoon after party.
Envirohub Bay of Plenty and a handful of eco-friendly packaging companies will be joining the beach clean-up and after party.
Beach clean-ups are catching on in the Bay of Plenty. Brenna Roband organised an annual beach clean-up every October called the Love Your Coast Beach Clean-Up.
Roband often tried to encourage her friends and family to ditch the plastic straws, plastic bags and takeaway coffee cups.
"We find waste everywhere," Roband said. "We have about 70 volunteers who cleaned up 66kgs of waste from the coast line, Leisure Island and around Mount Drury."
Roband said Tauranga residents were generally tidy but upon a closer look rubbish was found.
"It gets caught in the rocks and in the sand dunes," she said.
Roband said it was about educating people to understand the impacts rubbish and plastic waste had on the marine wildlife.
"One of the main impacts is digestion of the product," she said.
What: Help Clean Up Our Coast - The Rising Tide & Papamoa Beach Tavern
When: Saturday, February 17, from 11am
Where: Leisure Island and Papamoa Domain
What: Love Mauao Valentine's Rubbish Clean Up
When: Sunday, March 4, at 1pm-3pm
Where: Mount Maunganui Surf Lifeguard Service