Biodegradable Straws: The Impact of One Boy’s Advocacy
When seven-year-old Benjamin visited our Freeport store in November of 2018, he had a simple request for the staff of our café: could he have a paper straw for his lemonade?
Benjamin’s request came from a very thoughtful place. As a passionate young conservationist, and a dear friend of sea turtles, he knows that millions of marine animals are killed every year by plastic in the ocean. Plastic straws are part of the problem.
When Benjamin learned that our café only had plastic straws, he wrote a letter to our President and CEO Steve Smith, asking if we could opt for paper straws instead of plastic. It was just the kind of wake-up call we needed.
Like Benjamin, we’re also passionate about conservation. People from across the company jumped at the chance to immediately shift from plastic straws to paper. By early 2019, our store café switched to 100% corn biodegradable straws, and all of our corporate cafeterias quickly followed suit.
Steve applauded Benjamin's activism as proof that caring can make a difference. "Thank you for the polite, reasonable, intelligent activism—you made a difference in this great world, defending those who cannot defend themselves."
L.L.Bean President and CEO Steve Smith with young environmental activist Benjamin.
In response, the seven-year old thanked us for saving the sea turtles. He also shared his L.L.Bean story with classmates and not surprisingly got a round of high fives. Even better, his teacher informed the principal who is now looking to follow in Benjamin's—and L.L.Bean's—footsteps by eliminating plastic straws too.
Thank you, Benjamin, for reminding us that the outside is a place for all of us – including sea turtles – and we all have a part to play in keeping it clean and safe.