Have you ever thought about how bad plastic straws are for the environment? I never did. At least, I didn't until about a month ago when a friend told me plastic straws are one of the worst polluters in our oceans. We use about 500 million plastic straws in America every day, according to the website Strawless Ocean. Unfortunately, too many of these straws make their way to our oceans and waterways.
"So, why is that a problem?" I asked my friend. Obviously, I knew it was unsightly to look at straws washing up on beaches and such, but I wanted to know if there was a bigger problem. It turns out, there is. Plastic straws are small enough to be easily ingested by marine life. Once a turtle, sea bird, or other animal has plastic in their system, they have a 50% mortality rate. This is terrible, especially for those creatures that are already hovering on or near the endangered species list.
What can we do? None of us want to be responsible for the death of a sea turtle, after all.
Say No to Straws
Really think about your straw use. Do you need one every time you get a fountain drink? Do you always need one when you're in a restaurant? Ok, maybe sometimes you do. But, reducing your use can go a long way towards decreasing the amount of straws that end up in the ocean.
Try stainless steel drinking straws. They even come with a tiny scrub brush for cleaning. I don't know why, but when I look at the picture on Amazon, it makes me want to drink an old-fashioned milkshake. There was a diner where I grew up called The Calico Kitchen. It's not there anymore, but I remember them for their ice cold, thick and delicious chocolate milkshakes always served in a tall glass with a stainless steel cup of the "extra" on the side. I bet a stainless steel straw would make a milkshake taste even better.
It's a little hard to wrap my mind around how a paper straw would work. Wouldn't it get soggy and fall apart? But, according to the reviews I read on Amazon, they work just fine. Paper straws are biodegradable and come in many different colors and patterns. I'm thinking they'd be a cute addition to a birthday party table setting.
I'm happy to have three readily-available alternatives to plastic drinking straws. Can you think of others? What do you do to avoid plastic straws?