Siti Norhana: why I choose to go strawless and lidless

Siti Norhana (or Hana in short) is a designer with the S.E.A. Aquarium conservation team, and one of the brains behind those beautiful infographic walls and other creative content you see all around the aquarium.

Having been part of the team for 3 years, all that conservation content she has been working on seemed to have rubbed off on her. She now brings her own reusable tumbler or refuses plastic straws and lids when ordering drinks.

Hana shares more with us.

1. How did you get started on BYO?
During our previous Guardians of the S.E.A.A. beach cleanups, I saw so many plastic straws being washed ashore. It was a very sad sight.

Last year during World Oceans Day, I learnt about alternatives to plastic straws such as metal straws, bamboo straws, paper straws and even glass straws. That inspired me to start reducing my plastic usage.

I started out with paper straws, thanks to one of our managers Jim Hudson for buying them. Then I moved on to glass straws. My colleague Ee Lin kindly lent me hers while I searched for my first glass straw.

2. We heard that you even reject plastic lids when purchasing takeaway drinks. How do these F&B outlets respond to your request?
I tend to get puzzled looks for refusing plastic straws and lids. But some outlets do thank me, which is nice.

3. Don’t you find it inconvenient to bring along a reusable tumbler and/or straw?
On average, a plastic bag or straw is only used for around 15mins before it is thrown away, and it stays in landfills or the ocean forever. So it’s really just a small inconvenience that will help make the world a better place to live in.

It’s not easy to totally stop using plastic but we can start small by choosing to reject single-use plastic whenever we can.

4. What other items do you BYO?
My reusable tumbler and my reusable non-woven bags!

5. What happens when you forget your straw or tumbler?
Either I don’t drink, borrow a glass straw from my colleague or I’ll use the disposable plastic cup/straw and feel really guilty afterwards.

6. Any interesting BYO experiences you’d like to share?
I often visit the Starbucks near my office. Many of the regular staff recognise me and remember my request to go lidless and strawless, although they were very surprised when they first came across my requests. If it’s a new staff making my drink, the regulars will usually remind their new colleague to skip the lid.

By now, they know me so well that on the rare occassion that I forget my straw or take a straw by accident, they will jokingly ask me if I’m not saving the environment that day.

Me and my regular Starbucks barista QiQi.

Also, my husband has started to refuse plastic cutlery when buying takeaway food and even bought his own reusable tumbler recently!

A healthy ocean is a healthy us. We can all do it by starting small.

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