Each year 8 million metric tons of plastic are added to the already estimated 150 million metric tons that are currently in the ocean. I’m sure you’ve seen the videos; you’ve probably started cutting the turtle catching circles in all of your plastic six-pack holders. Maybe you’ve started to recycle and bought some reusable plastic bags for your snacks on the go instead of reaching for a Ziploc. All of these things are wonderful! Good job!
It turns out that one of the easiest to fix plastic problems is called “gateway plastic”, meaning it’s so small that we easily reach for it without a second thought. It’s no big deal. I admit that on its own it’s small, insignificant. But according to Freedonia Group, in 2017 Americans used 390 million plastic straws each day! One leads to another which leads to another.
Just think about being in a restaurant: You have a drink and the waiter or waitress brings you a refill, next thing you know they took your other cup with your straw in it—no worries though! They just set another on the table for you. It snowballs from there. Australian scientists Denise Hardesty and Chris Wilcox estimate that there are nearly 7.5 million plastic straws littering America’s shorelines currently.
Reasons to switch to reusable straws:
Plastic is toxic–
According to the Washington Post, “Most single-use plastic straws are made from polypropylene, a type of plastic commonly made from petroleum. Polypropylene is thought to be food-safe in amounts approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But there is evidence that chemicals from polypropylene can leach into liquids and may release compounds that could affect estrogen levels, especially when exposed to heat, acidic beverages or UV light.
More established is the fact that degraded plastics found in the ocean are ingested by marine wildlife, making their way up the food chain and perhaps winding up at the dinner table. So not only can plastics harm animals in the environment — think about the sea turtle with the straw up its nostril — but bits of them, and the toxic chemicals within, may hurt us all.” Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/plastic-straws-arent-just-bad-for-the-environment–they-can-be-bad-for-your-body/2018/07/02/d682fdfe-7964-11e8-aeee-4d04c8ac6158_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.69ee9a71a8ed
They’re clogging up the ocean–
In a recent article TRVST said, “In the UK the Great British Beach Clean cleaned 339 beaches of plastic waste in 2017. This effort resulted in over 250 thousand items of trash being picked up off British beaches. Of these 500 pieces were disposable trays, cutlery and straws.
The same year the Ocean Conservancy rallied volunteers from 112 countries for their own beach cleanup. They further collected a staggering 18 million pounds of trash and plastic products from beaches. An amazing effort.
Amongst their haul of trash they collected over 400 thousand plastic straws. Unbelievably that’s plastic straws equivalent to 145 times the height of One World Trade Centre (New York, at 541 metres). Their count found that straws (and stirrers) were the 7th top collected plastic item. Close behind caps, plastic bags, water bottles and cigarette butts. Sadly however this is only a fraction of the straws in our oceans. Despite their size, the environmental impact of plastic straws is a significant problem in our seas and on our beaches.” Read the full article here: https://www.trvst.world/inspiration/environmental-impact-of-plastic-straws/
It ends up in the Landfill and ISN’T recycled!-
So why don’t we just recycle them? Problem solved! The Washington Post recently spoke with Jonathan Kuhl of the D.C. Department of Public Works who explains it perfectly, “Recycling is very important: It keeps many of our plastic objects from spending hundreds of years causing trouble. Unfortunately, your straws always end up in a landfill. “Plastic straws and other items smaller than two by two inches, such as plastic utensils, fall through the machinery that sorts our recycling,” says Jonathan Kuhl of the D.C. Department of Public Works. “Because of this, we ask District residents not to put these small items in their recycling bins.” The same is true in most recycling plants around the country.” Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/plastic-straws-are-little-but-they-are-part-of-a-huge-problem/2018/09/07/63bfe44e-ac9f-11e8-b1da-ff7faa680710_story.html?utm_term=.151500762c87
So what do you do? SWITCH! The switch to a reusable straw is one of the easiest and quickest ways to start making less plastic waste. It’s a fast step in the right direction.
Pick up your own set HERE and start your less-waste journey!