Why you should kick the plastic straw habit | MNN


The worst factor about plastic straws is that more often than not, they don’t seem to be a selection.

Like a lot of the single-use plastic that comes our approach, plastic straws simply seem, positioned in takeout baggage or showing in cups of soda, iced tea or water. And for those who choose up plastic on seashores, you understand that one of the vital frequent items of plastic waste you will discover is plastic straws. They’re in all places. And as soon as they make their approach into the marine ecosystem, they’re eaten by fish and birds that mistake them for meals. Straws are used as soon as — to sip a frosty beverage — after which they instantly develop into rubbish, persisting within the surroundings for many years.

Fortunately, companies and governments are lastly doing one thing about it.

Starbucks introduced it can get rid of plastic straws from all its shops by 2020 and change them with new cups which have a raised-lip lid fabricated from recyclable plastic. The worldwide espresso firm makes use of multiple billion plastic straws a 12 months. “By nature, the straw isn’t recyclable and the lid is, so we really feel this resolution is extra sustainable and extra socially accountable,” said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks. “Starbucks is lastly drawing a line within the sand and making a mould for different massive manufacturers to observe. We’re elevating the water line for what’s acceptable and galvanizing our friends to observe go well with.”

One California Assemblyman introduced a bill earlier this 12 months requiring sure eating institutions to solely present a plastic straw when a buyer requests one. (The invoice doesn’t apply to quick meals, takeout or counter-service eating places.)

Assemblyman Ian Calderon stated the invoice would not ban plastic straws; it is meant to curb their use. In his proposal, he refers to data that states 500 million straws are thrown away on a regular basis within the U.S.

New York Metropolis might also be part of the motion. A invoice scheduled to be introduced earlier than metropolis council would ban plastic straws and low stirrers.

“The straw stays in the environment with out decomposing for tons of of years,” Councilman Rafael Espinal advised New York Daily News. “We’re seeing cities throughout the nation and the globe phasing out plastic straws, and it has no affect on the buyer or small enterprise.”

And in Seattle, beginning July 1, companies that promote meals or drinks can be banned from providing plastic straws or utensils.

Much less straws = much less waste

There’s additionally a singular and really particular group that desires to vary the wasteful narrative round plastic straws by encouraging folks to take some easy steps to maintain straws out of the waste stream.

The Last Plastic Straw has a easy ask:

“Merely request ‘no straw’ at bars & eating places and share your dedication with others,” reads the location. “Encourage your favourite restaurant or bar to solely present straws on request from the shopper and to make use of compostable or reusable choices to the plastic straw. Principally what we’re asking you to do is DO LESS: much less consumption, much less waste, much less straws. It’s a win-win!”

Bars and eating places could be proactive, too. No Plastic Straw suggests:

  • Present a straw solely when one is requested
  • Present both compostable or reusable straws
  • Eliminate straws fully

If you happen to discover you actually like to make use of a straw at dwelling, otherwise you need to present them at your enterprise for individuals who want them, there are two nice methods to go. The primary, finest one is attempting a reusable straw, which could be washed together with dishes. They arrive in stainless-steel or glass. (I’ve tried each, and the steel ones are finest for longevity, although the glass ones are nice for cocktails, and are stronger than you’d think — they arrive in every kind of sizes and a few have enjoyable decorations.) You will discover the stainless straws in all places from Williams Sonoma to Mattress, Bathtub, and Past, in addition to on-line.

An alternative choice is paper straws, that are disposable and likewise generally are available in numerous fairly ornamental colours and patterns. (These are my favorite.) You’ll be able to even discover them made from recycled paper!

With so many choices accessible, there isn’t any cause so as to add to the plastic straw waste drawback. So typically with environmental points, options aren’t that easy, however that is a simple one to assist. So c’mon, simply do it.

Editor’s Observe: This text has been up to date because it was initially revealed in July 2017.

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers aware consumption, well being and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and concepts.

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