Stirring Up An Environmental Challenge on 30A

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. - Plastic straws in Walton County are stirring up environmental challenges to 30A. A new challenge is calling all beach-goers to 'take a stand and clean up the sand,' one straw at a time.

Each day, hundreds to thousands of straws are left behind on our beautiful beaches, by tourists and locals. A new Walton County group is asking the public to take part in their Take 5 for 30A challenge. 

"It's our summer challenge and it is so easy to embed it into your lifestyle. So, every time you are at the beach, take five minutes and clean up around you. Whether it is your trash, someone else's trash... it's all of our trash," said Jeni Bailey, Take 5 for 30A, founder.

The clean up initiative was started by a mother of two, who wants to keep her favorite place on earth, the desirable sunny spot rather than a trashy dump. Take 5 for 30a is a grass-root effort to clean the beaches of South Walton. 

"We are going to start with straws first. If the beaches with the access and close proximity to the beach can go paper, that would be amazing. That is such a huge, huge first step. That makes such big a difference," said Bailey. 

Besides just challenging beach-goers to clean up trash, Bailey, founder of the group, is calling all restaurants to make an effort too. 

"We are right directly on the beach. So, we don't really want straws, you know, collecting. My solution to that is, to switch to paper straws. They work just as good," said Dave Rauschkolb, Bud & Alley's. 

Owners in Seaside accepted the challenge and are making changes to what products they use; making sure they are all beach safe.

"One, it's educational. So, people see it and they are going to ask questions. It's bright, It's pretty, 'Why does it say beach safe on it?' Two, it just biodegrades. It breaks down on the beach. A plastic straw is not going to go away, it's going to be there forever," said Arix Zalace, co-owner of Raw and Juicy.

Bailey and her crew hope this will encourage others to clean up around them and lead by example to take five. 

"Of course, while we are here on this trip, we will take part in the Take 5 initiative in Seaside," said Ashley Henderson, tourists.  

"We say, 'Small act. Big impact.'" 

The Take 5 for 30A, strawless summer challenge kicks off June 20th.  Several businesses in South Walton have accepted the challenge and making a change over to paper products.

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