A case against plastic straws: Are they really necessary?
Sea turtles think they’re not
May 15, 2017
More than five trillion pieces of plastic waste flow into the world’s oceans every year, and it’s rapidly increasing by the minute. Out of all the products generated from plastic, straws are considerably the least of the citizens’ concern.
An average of 500 million straws are used every day in America alone. Now try doubling (or even tripling) those figures when you include other countries outside of the United States. Can you see how much waste that would make?
My personal campaign against the use of plastic straws started two years ago when a video of a sea turtle suffering on the hands of a four-inch straw went viral. Then my fight for the cause grew stronger when I participated in a coastal cleanup not too long ago, and found plastic straws to be one of the most abundant trash.
Go to any food establishment and you will find a straw dispenser somewhere. If there’s none, chances are they’re going to serve it with your drink anyway. The rising demand for consumer convenience can be seen in fast food chains offering disposable foodware, simply because more people are taking their meals on the go. You might think plastic straws are being recycled like most products but that’s actually not the case. Since they’re small and difficult to pick out, workers are unable to sift them and thus never making it to the recycling stage.
The solution is easy: if there’s no need for a straw, don’t use it. The thing with plastic is that it never really breaks down; it only splits into little pieces but it never biodegrades. Believe it or not, the average time it takes for plastic to decompose is a whopping 450 years. If you really need to use one (either due to a handicap or mysophobia), try to use a reusable straw instead. Knowing where your money goes and what it supports when you eat out is a good consumer habit to form. Say no to the straw and yes to cleaner land, air, and water by cutting off single-use plastics and other disposables.