Why Plastic Straws?
We all use plastic straws; even if we don’t buy them for use at home, when we’re in a restaurant or bar it’s more than likely that your drink will come with at least one plastic straw in the glass. It’s estimated that in the US alone more than 500 million straws are used per day. In this post we’ve come up with a 5 Step guide to help you start your plastic straw free life.
Though useful, plastic straws can be incredibly harmful to our aquatic environment. A lot of plastics end up in our ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is made up of floating debris, much of it plastic, includes straws, and every year straws make the top ten most commonly items picked up on International Beach Clean-up Day. This year they hit the no. 5 spot with 439,571 being collected. A really great tool to find out more about plastic and other types of marine debris is the Project Aware Dive Against Debris Interactive Map. In 2016, straws were in the top third of marine debris items removed and reported through Dive Against Debris in 2016.
Aside from the damage that straws do to our aquatic environment and wildlife when whole. As they are made of plastic, the potential damage can be even worse. Plastic does not biodegrade, instead, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller particles, eventually ending up being ingested by ocean wildlife, and in turn, entering the human food chain.
If we could all stop using straws just for one day then, in America alone, there would be 500 million fewer straws with the potential to end up in our precious ocean. So, we’ve come up with a five-step guide to help start your plastic straw free life.
How to start a plastic straw free life:
- Start at home. Our habits in our homes generally reflect on our daily lives outside of the home – by getting used to having your drinks without straws (or better yet, not getting into the habit in the first place), it will make you more aware of straw usage when you’re out. As well as reducing the number of straws you use at home, also try to avoid buying drinks that come with straws, such as ones in cartons and bags.
- Say No! Restaurants and bars tend to add straws to most drinks as a matter of course. So, when ordering, remember to ask for your drink without one. If you really can’t live without a plastic drinking helper, why not keep the straw you’re given in your first drink for the next? With an average useful lifespan of 20 minutes each straw can really be used more than once!
- Buy reusable. There are plenty of alternative, reusable straws on the market now; from bamboo to shatterproof glass- check out these options suggested by StrawlessOcean.org. So you don’t even have to buy a reusable plastic one.
- Bring your own. If you really can’t go without a straw when you’re out and about there’s no harm in bringing your own, especially if it’s a reusable one.
- Spread the word! Many people are unaware of the damage that straws can do to the environment and oceans, so talk about it and you’ll be surprised how many people will want to reduce their straw waste too.
If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out how you can reduce your plastic waste even more, check out our blog article: Tips on How to Cut Down Waste Every Day.