THEY may protect your teeth (and your lipstick), but plastic straws are bad news for the planet.

As campaigners try to turn the tide on single-use plastics, pub giant Wetherspoons's vow to ditch the drinking straw is expected to stop 70million of them ending up in landfill or the sea every year.

A heartbreaking video by the Leatherback Trust, showing a research team in Costa Rica attempting to remove a 10cm plastic straw from the nose of a sea turtle, has been watched more than 9million times.

Says the Trust: "Every plastic straw, plastic bag, or plastic bottle that ends up in the oceans could mean the difference between life or death for any number of marine animals."

Wetherspoon will stop the using plastic straws across its 900 pubs in the UK and Republic of Ireland by the end of this year.

In addition, and with immediate effect, straws will no longer be automatically added to drinks, although they remain available for customers if requested.

From January 2018, all of the company’s pubs will use biodegradable paper straws.

Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “These changes are part of an overall commitment from the company to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste produced.

“We believe that Wetherspoon pub-goers will welcome this.”

In Newcastle Emlyn, Andrew Giles, who runs the Pelican Inn, is hoping to do his bit to help save the environment by going ‘plastic free’.

“People are just irresponsible when it comes to chucking away plastic and I decided I want to do my little bit to help and it also raises awareness of the issue," he said.

"There are millions of tonnes of plastic in our oceans that is causing all sorts of harm.

“The only thing I can control is what the customer leaves here with, and everything I can change has been changed.”

“Now, if someone simply chucks something away and it ends up in the river, it won’t even make it to the sea.

"It will simply biodegrade and not end up killing a turtle or a whale.”

All the pub’s and attached restaurant’s plastic straws, Styrofoam takeaway boxes, plastic cutlery and plastic take-out cups and glasses have been recycled and replaced with paper straws, biodegradable take-out cups, beechwood cutlery and cardboard takeaway boxes.

The new take-away glasses in the pub look and feel just like the plastic ones they have replaced but are made instead from plant starch and are completely compostable.

Andrew is also ensuring all the plastics that come with packaging are also recycled from behind the bar.

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