Profile: This Is The Last Straw for Swit Yen

March 29, 2018

By Aiman Azri

As the Tak Nak Straw community expands in Malaysia, rejecting the prevalence of plastic straws in restaurants, we speak to one consumer, Swit Yen, to learn why she has voluntarily become part of this earth-friendly movement.

EDKL: When did you start practising No Straw? 

Swit Yen: 
For me, I grew up as somebody who was involved in going green and stuff like that in primary school. I have slacked on this for a very long time, and I feel like now is a good time to create good habits again. It's more about going back to my original principles.

EDKL: So you now use your own straw that you bring with you whenever you eat out?

Swit Yen: I've been doing no-straw for about a month now. It was difficult to transition, especially when it came to people (waiters) having the norm of just automatically putting a straw into your drink.

I have this thing where I collect paraphernalia from cinemas, and there was a drink barrel that came with a straw. So I use that. I didn't buy a special straw, glass or anything like that. I used whatever I already had.

The least I can do for the next couple of months to make sure I strictly practise this.

EDKL: Do you practise any other initiatives that are similar to No Straw?

Swit Yen: Gwen, one of my friends from the poetry scene, started a minimal-waste campaign for lunchtime last year. It was a pro-dining-in kind of thing. But unfortunately for the industry I work with, events and productions at the time, I had to tarpau everything, all the time. It irked me so much that I was creating so much waste.

When she started the campaign, I wanted to support her as a friend. But it goes beyond a campaign. You want it to be more, to include it as part of your lifestyle.

I use my own container when I go to take away food. I also carry around a reusable cup, especially when I order takeaway for cold drinks and hot drinks. So you reduce the use of plastic bags and string.

I also carry a recyclable bag, to pack items and groceries. I also try to take the LRT as much as I can.

Check out facebook.com/TakNakStraw for helpful local information on this movement, including practical alternatives to accepting plastic straws at eateries. This interview was conducted independently in support of this movement; EDKL is not affiliated with the community, and this interview does not necessarily reflect the official views or perspectives of the movement.

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