Our Story

Our Story

The Straw Campaign

How one item can start a movement

Our organization grew out of the success of The Straw Campaign back in 2018, when we set out to reduce plastic pollution in Vancouver’s shorelines. Simon Fraser University graduate Melissa Donich began meeting with Vancouver restaurant owners with a simple question- What if we started by dropping the straw?

Business-backed change

From that humble starting point, The Straw Campaign galvanized over 100 businesses to sign a petition voicing their commitment to end the use of plastic straws. Through the petition, many business owners realized that little effort was needed to take straws out of the equation and start reducing their impact on both human and environmental health.

“When you add it all up, that’s 57 million straws being thrown out in Canada every day.” – Melissa Donich, Founder of Drop the Plastic

The solution was cost-friendly and within arms’ reach: replace single-use straws with biodegradable or reusable alternatives, or even better, kick the straw habit entirely.

“According to scientists, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2040. We need to start somewhere, and plastic straws were an easy first step.” – Melissa Donich, Founder of Drop the Plastic

A cleaner city

With the completed petition in hand, Donich went to municipal leaders to propose that the city go straw-free and Vancouver City Council voted yes to banning single-use plastic straws starting June 1, 2019.

Some businesses had already been following their own strict policy on not using straws, but up until The Straw Campaign, there had been little city-wide participation. The Straw Campaign proved that municipal government, individuals, and local businesses could work together to implement real, widespread environmental change.

“I reached out to local businesses on a very personal level. I would go door-to-door, district to district, and collect hand written signatures. . . it demonstrated their support, and a genuine interaction between the citizens of Vancouver. We need this kind of support today.”

Our job isn’t done

Straws are only the smallest perpetrator in plastic pollution, and while we were able to impact an entire city, the reality is that plastic pollution continues to be a global issue.
Founded in 2019, Drop the Plastic is a Canadian-based, non-profit organization with a global mission to end single-use plastics and non-recyclable materials. We educate individuals, businesses, and political leaders on the easy, practical steps they can take to reduce plastic pollution.

Through community cooperation, field research, and spreading awareness, Drop the Plastic is tackling one item at a time.

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Our society would not be possible without our sponsors, volunteers and kind donations.

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Our Straw Ban

How one item can start a movement

“Drop the Straw” was never about straws; it was about starting a conversation about plastic waste and unnecessary pollution in Canada. By focusing on straws, we were able to tackle the issue one plastic at a time.

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The Team

Melissa Donich
Melissa DonichFounder of Drop the Plastic, Environmental Educator
Melissa is the founder and CEO of Drop the Plastic Society. In 2018, she began her advocacy work as a campaign manager to ban single-use plastic straws in Vancouver. With the success of her campaign, she founded the Victoria- based organization, Drop the Plastic, and hopes to continue to inspire people to make positive changes. She currently lives in Victoria, BC, and studies at Royal Roads University in Environmental Education and Communication.
Nikkey Dawn
Nikkey DawnCommunications, Conservation Writer & Photographer
Nikkey is a writer, photographer and content creator. With over a decade of experience in eco-tourism, outdoor and non-profit sectors, she is always looking for ways to ingrain stewardship in outdoor culture. She first became aware of the ocean plastic pollution through freediving, participating in ocean floor clean-ups of marine debris, and has gone on to document microplastic research in the Salish Sea. Recently, she gained her expert certification in Marine Litter from the UN Environmental Programme. 
Shea O’Neil
Shea O’NeilGlobal Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCOM)
Shea is currently living in Brussels, Belgium working with over 10,000 Mayors around the world on bold climate action through the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Previously, Shea worked with former Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson. Shea has a Master’s Degree from SFU in Urban Studies and focused her studies on waste reduction and specifically single-use item reduction policies for local governments. Shea is also the co-founder of Repair Matters, a Vancouver-based initiative that empowers people to take part in repair and creative problem solving.
Julia Rubin
Julia RubinEnvironmental Health Scientist
Julia has several years of experience working at the intersection of human and environmental health, with projects based both domestically and abroad. Before obtaining a masters degree in Environmental Health Science at UC-Berkeley, she worked as a marine biologist, scuba diver, and volunteer trainer for Blue Ventures, Inc. She is currently working as an infectious disease epidemiologist, working on the COVID-19 response at both the local and federal level. She is passionate about science communication, and the translation of research to evidence based practice and policy.

Sponsors

Our society would not be possible without the help of our sponsors, volunteers and donations.
Special thanks to:

Other supporters:

Asterix Studio, Biancangela, Moozhan A Art & Design