Building the World

Make Your Next Straw, The Last Straw

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Make your next straw, the last straw. Image: wikimedia commons.

Americans use 500 million plastic straws – every day. Just to get the picture: that’s enough to fill 127 school buses. Every day. Each person in the United States will statistically use 38,000 plastic straws between the ages of 5 to 64. Most straws end up in the oceans. Why? Even when recycled, most plastic straws are too light, dropping undetected through recycling sorting filters. All waters, even with straws and microbeads, flow to the oceans where 70% of seabirds now have plastic in their stomachs. Plastic bags have been the subject of concern for decades, but plastic straws are among the top ten items found in marine debris. It’s easy to say NO. Mention your preference during your order: “And, no straw, please.” If a straw is required (there are many important medical and special needs), compostable plastic straws may offer a sustainable choice.  Individually, many people carry a personal water bottle or coffee cup; why not consider BYO straw choices like bamboo or stainless steel? A personal straw could address the safety of sips. Here are some straw styles suggested by Strawless Ocean.

Grenier, Adrian. “The Strawless Ocean Initiative.” Interview with Project Earth correspondent Nicholas Ibarguen on how individuals and restaurants could stop using plastic straws.

Schmidt, Christian, Tobias Kraut, S. Wagner. “Export of plastic debris by rivers into the sea.” Environmental Science & Technology 2017, 51 (21), 12246-12253.

“Strawless in Seattle” demonstrates how a city can go strawless. Enter your town in the competition

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

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One Comment

  1. What a sobering (but gently done) tidbit! Thanks for reminding us all!

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