America knows Melissa Joan Hart as an actress — the star of sitcoms like “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Melissa & Joey.”
Westporters know her as our neighbor. Like moms all around town, she cares about the environment, and the world we’re leaving our kids.
One of her major concerns is plastic straws. They’re too light to be recycled, and are one of the most common pollutants found in waters — on Compo Beach, in Long Island Sound, everywhere really.
Melissa is not alone. Other Westporters are working to eliminate plastic straws. Internationally, a Plastic Free July Foundation — based in Australia — is taking aim at all single-use plastics.
But Melissa has taken special action. Spurred by the knowledge that ours was the first town east of the Mississippi River to ban plastic bags, 10 years ago — a move many other communities have emulated — she’s beating the bushes to get restaurants to stop using plastic straws.
Or, to use her favorite hashtag: #stopsucking.
The idea, Melissa says, is for restaurants to move to “straws on request only” — and use alternatives like bamboo, paper, pasta or stainless steel straws. Another option: Patrons can carry reusable straws.
A number of leading restaurants are already on board. Melissa has commitments from The Spotted Horse, Gray Goose, Arogya, Jesup Hall, The Whelk, The Cottage and OKO.
She’s working on Terrain, Amis, Bartaco, Granola Bar and Tarantino’s. Then she’ll keep going, through all our many restaurants and other food places. (She’s got an ally in Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran).
But that’s not all. Melissa wants influential Westporters to post each restaurant that makes the #StopSucking promise, and drive traffic there.
If it’s posted to Instagram accounts like @LonelyWhale, @LifeWithoutPlastics and @Take3fortheSea, the campaign can reach far beyond Westport, she says.
Melissa Joan Hart loves living, raising her kids — and dining — here.
She’ll love it even more when we all #StopSucking.