When I was a child, I would use straws regularly to drink, but who would have ever thought that something so innocent, could have such devastating impacts.
Straws and other plastic waste are contributing to a catastrophic pandemic, in which over 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the worlds oceans each and every year (a statistic published in the journal of science in 2015). There is that much plastic waste in our oceans, that it is anticipated to soon outnumber fish.
There are multiple options we have to stop the un-necessary use of plastic straws, including purchasing stainless steel, bamboo or silicone straws! Or start by simply saying no!
Think to yourself, what actual benefit does the use of a straw bring? Have you ever noticed that when you go to a local cafe, bar or restaurant, that they generally give you a straw, even if you do not request one? Do you also know that statistics show that up to 70% of us would not of actually requested a straw, if we hadn’t received one!
Overcome these problems by making more informed choices. It is our choice to use these un-necessarily and we can help change this by simply saying no.
Here are some mind-boggling facts about plastic straws:
- There are approximately 390 million straws are used every day in the USA, which equates to 142 billion a year. This is a statistic that was put together by Freedonia Group in 2017.
- An unverified statistic estimates that Australians use 10 million straws a day.
- 100,000+ marine creatures die each year (these are only the ones found) from plastic entanglement, with straws making up a big % of these. This is a stat from oceanrusaders.org. Secondly, there are approximately 1 million sea birds who die each year from ingesting plastics.
- Plastics don’t actually Biodegrade, and they never fully Degrade.
- In order for us to understand the full environmental impact of straws, it is important to know the difference between biodegrading and degrading:
This is when an item can be broken down naturally and digested by micro-organisms. These are then naturally recycled into new organic molecules and life.
Is actually the process of the plastic breaking down into smaller pieces. When plastic degrades, the bulk of the plastic will seem to disappear – but in fact, what’s really happening is the plastic is breaking up into smaller, near invisible pieces that will remain on the Earth.
- Plastic straws can take up to 200 years to degrade. Plastic will never be fully off the Earth, as plastics are not biodegradable. To make matters worse, the degrading of plastic releases chemicals that are toxic to wildlife and the environment.
- Straws are currently the 8th most found ocean trash in clean ups by Australian clean up groups (January 2019).
What can we do?
The thing to remember about plastic straws is this: You can actually refuse them. Pledge to go #plasticfree:
If you order a drink, you can simply say, “Without a straw, please!” #sayno
The waiter, waitresses, servers and restaurant owners are the best people to raise your concerns with. You could ask them to switch to a “straws on request” policy, rather than giving out straws when they’re not actually asked for. (This is a great option for businesses to save money!) If you’re on the shy side, click here to download a pre-formatted letter that you can leave at the table or email through to the business.
If you need a straw, bring your own biodegradable paper*, bamboo, stainless steel or silicone versions.
Promote businesses (like this one) who are making the effort! Some are making the choice to use paper straws! Others are offering incentives like, ‘fill a bucket with plastic waste from our beach and receive a free coffee’. How good is that! This is great initiative that you could do with your family on your Sunday morning walk. You can receive a free coffee at the end of your walk! How good is that!
We only have 1 world and we have a responsibility to leave it in a pristine condition for future generations. Will our children or grandchildren get the opportunities to enjoy the wilderness and beaches as we have? Will they get to see all the animals and creatures that we have been fortunate enough to see? Humans are contributing to extinction rates through the clearing of habitats, polluting of waterways and causing almost irreversible damage to our climate through greenhouse gas emissions.
There is a strong chance that next generations will not be fortunate enough to have these experiences, as we have. There are some great initiatives out there and I recommend you take the time to look into them through the following links:
We can change this world, 1 straw at a time! Purchase and use sustainable options or #sayno.
Visit our online store to view our range of alternative options.