(Photo of Milo compliments of CapeCodOnline)
Meeting people who live their purpose inspires me. Meeting children who have already figured it out blow me away! I came across Milo’s story a few weeks ago and knew that I had to get in touch and learn more about his YES! Milo is 10 years old – and only 9 when he started BeStrawFree. Ever since reading his story I have been conscious of the amount of waste in plastic straws – and have begun to find sustainable alternatives.
So, let’s meet the young man and hear his YES ideas.
Travis: Milo, for me, living your YES means living with purpose. It means doing those things that feel natural to us, we are passionate about it, and also contributes to the world. After I read your story, I thought to myself, here is a young man living his YES. To you, what does living your YES mean to you?
Milo: I guess living with my YES means seeing what needs to be done and then trying to do it.
Travis: I read how you were inspired to ask a local restaurant to stop giving away straws. What was the initial motivation that got you thinking about waste and wanting to do something about it? Was it something in school – or a person?
Milo: I noticed that if I didn’t order my drink without a straw it would come with one automatically in it. I thought this was a huge waste because I don’t need a straw. It made me curious to know how many straws we use in the US every day and when I learned that we use about 500 million straws every day – enough to fill over 46,000 large school bus loads per year that was when I decided, “This is something I can do something about This is something anyone of any age can do something about: Anyone who can order a drink can order one with out a straw if they don’t want or need one.”
And I started BeStrawFree at first by going directly to restaurant owners and asking if they’d adopt an Offer-first policy. It saves them money and helps the environment so most restaurant owners I talked to agreed to give it a try. Many have told me they now save 50-80% on the number of straws they use.
Travis: What I love about this is that your solution is actually a benefit to the restaurants as well. Growing up in a restaurant family myself, I can only imagine the amount of straw waste over the years.
What would you ultimately like to see BeStrawFree accomplish? Do you have a long-term goal?
Milo: Ultimately I’d like to work myself out of a job! I’d like to see it become standard for restaurants to offer straws instead of putting one into every drink automatically. This can happen sooner if they know customers would welcome this change. I encourage customers to order their drinks without straws, too. I am not trying to ban straws- just cut way back on them if possible!
Travis: I recently went into a local coffee shop and noticed they were using dried fettuccine noodles instead of plastic coffee stirs.
Milo: It’s terrific- several people have written to tell me that the pasta sticks are becoming a trend now- great!
Travis: What fears or obstacles have you run in to? How have you handled them?
Milo: Chains. National restaurant chains are the biggest obstacles to achieving Offer-first as a standard practice. The National Restaurant Association officially recognized and formally named BeStrawFree’s Offer-first policy a “Best Practice” for restaurants nationwide (on Earth Day 2010) and, even so, national chains are the most reluctant to join on – even those which say they are so “green” conscious! But we keep trying by contacting their “Sustainability” departments and asking them to join in the fun.
Travis: Yeah, and I know I have begun to deny straws when they have been offered to me. A lot of these small choices add up to big change.
So, who are what inspires you most?
Milo: There is a bumper sticker that reads, “The best way to predict the future is to help create it.” You and I will create the future: both our actions and our lack of action will determine the fate of our planet. When we do not act we give all the decisions to people who do choose to act.
Travis: YES! I can feel the passion in your response! If there was one idea you wanted to share with the world – what would it be?
Milo: I want to take action! I want to help make the decisions for our planet!”
Travis: Thank you Milo – those are simple but powerful words!
Milo: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview with you. Best of luck on your own YES!
To learn more about Milo and BeStrawFree – click here!
Milo is living his YES, are you? Take the YES Test to find out.
Want to live more YES in your life? Find out more about the YES 101 program that inspired this site. You can start now!