Just Americans alone use 500 million drinking straws per day, that’s about one and a half per person, per day. The numbers are staggering – and ridiculous. After research I could list hundreds of statistics, but the numbers are way too high.
The waste is piling up rapidly. Wildlife and our geology is taking on the brunt tsunami of waste from the careless human consumer. The proponents say the only answer to this filthy dilemma is to make a change in lifestyle. Making sure that we reuse, recycle, sustain, keep green, and work within nature; just a small sacrifice.
Out of all our waste, plastic straws are amazing at escaping the waste stream, The Houdini of refuse if you will. When a storm hits your garbage dump or recycling bin, wind will pick up remnants of these products and rain will wash some of it away and ultimately up the nostrils of wildlife.
While the alternative biodegradable straw will decompose in 6 months, the plastic straw can take up to 500 years.
This is all confirmation that once use plastic straws are a waste issue. For a long time, most people thought nothing of it. Milo Cress, a nine-year-old boy noticed many straws just being wasted and started the “Be Straw Free” campaign for food establishments to offer straws as an option in 2011.
Today, many businesses are acting to ban plastic straws. Does this mean we will never use a plastic straw again?
The straw itself has been around for thousands of years, the first known one as far back as the Sumerians 3000 B.C.E., and made out of gold. Reportedly used to drink beer so the you would not get the pulp from the bottom. Then again in the 1800’s made of rye straw or paper. By the 1870’s plastic celluloid took production and John Wesley Hyatt invented the once use plastic straw 148 years ago.
Today we have alternatives to once use plastic straws: bamboo straws, glass straws, metal straws that come with cleaning kits, straw straws, paper straws, pasta straws, etc.
We make lots of waste. On average, we dump an estimated 18 billion pounds of garbage each year. If it’s one pound, it is one pound too many. There are garbage continents floating out in our oceans, killing off wild life and accruing more mass.
So yes, we will continue to use plastic straws, but we have to be happy using eco-friendly alternatives for the bigger picture.
Practice ways of reducing your dependence on plastics like straws, spare the packaged products, vote locally for bans on non-biodegradable once use products, reuse, and recycle.