If you care about the environment, you know that there’s one extra-offensive phrase in eco-circles: single-use. Anything that’s designed to be used once before it’s disposed of is inherently terrible for the environment, whether it’s a paper coffee cup, a disposable diaper or a paper napkin. However, plastic waste is particularly problematic because 1) it’s so common 2) it doesn’t biodegrade over time and 3) it’s quite toxic to our environment as it breaks down.
There is one single-use plastic item that often flies under the radar but does some serious damage to our beautiful planet: straws. Although, small in and of themselves, straws have a huge impact on our planet, especially on marine life.
The average lifespan of using a straw is twenty minutes, then they’re thrown away to live forever in our waste stream. In other words, “a moment on your lips, forever on Mother Earth’s hips.” You may be saying “wait, of all the things we throw away, straws are tiny. Do they really have the same footprint as bigger disposable items?” And Mother Earth says right back to you “yes, you dolt, they’re around forever.” Across the US, 500 million straws are used every single day and that’s just the US.
Here’s why it’s time to ditch plastic straws:
- They contain BPA
- Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items picked up as trash on beach cleanup days
- They’re made from scarce petroleum products
- They pose a threat to wildlife because their small size makes them easy to ingest (this video is pretty tough to watch but will really make you swear off your plastic straws)
- They’re around forever after their single use
- Like plastic bags, some municipalities are cluing in and banning plastic straws
This is a video from National Geogrpahic.
So, we know that some people have a serious aversion to germs and feel the need to use a straw, and we also know that some people have to use a straw. Where does this leave you if you want to make a difference without giving up your straw loving habits?
Luckily, this pesky issue is becoming more common knowledge and your options to replace single-use plastic straws are growing. On the market currently, you can purchase straws made from glass, stainless steel and our favorite, not just because of our obvious bias, but also due to its versatility, packability, and unbreakablity are silicone Silipint Straws.
We know the transition from single-use plastics to reusability can be daunting, so we have put together some of the common questions we have heard and our tips & tricks to make the move:
A road trip with my kids is a Spill City disaster if I don’t invite some straws along.
Cool, we totally hear that. So, give your kids straws and don’t worry about the outcome if you use a Silistraw. They’re reusable and they help keep your car cleaner. As an extra bonus, they can also be a toy, keeping those busy hands and minds entertained.
But I love straws! Summer isn’t the same without slurping on some cool beverages.
So, keep using straws. Or rather, keep using ONE straw. If you put a reusable straw into your drink, you’re getting the same experience without the impact. Silistraws don’t pose the risks of glass straws, the temperature challenges of metal ones and they’re going to last as long as your Silipints, aka virtually for the rest of your life. Also, they don’t rattle like glass or metal, causing annoying and incessant noises, so that is a sure win!
When I’m out and I order an expensive boutique cocktail or a fancy coffee, they give me a straw.
Things are a little trickier when you’re out or on a road trip. However, we assume you still care about the environment even if you’re on a date or on your eighth state in six days. The easiest thing you can do is to say “no” to the straw. When you order, let them know you have your own straw and would not like a plastic one. Pop your reusable one in there and embrace the feel-good knowledge that you’re keeping straws out of the waste stream. Plus, maybe your act will spark a great conversation with someone who doesn’t realize what a huge volume of waste straws represent.
So, bottom line: keep the convenience, fun and vibe of a straw with virtually indestructible, Earth-friendly Silistraws, and take a pass on environmental destruction, use of scarce natural resources and that sinking, sucking feeling of using a single-use plastic item.
If you’re ready to go above and beyond saying “no” to straws, take a look at an anti-straw campaign like Straw Wars, Straws Suck, or the Lonely Whale Foundation. From donating to protesting or volunteering there are a lot of different ways you can be involved in making a bigger difference, one straw at a time.#saynotostraws #strawssuck #2minutebeachcleanup