Humans have been using straws for over 7,000 years. In ancient Egypt, people drank through straws to avoid slurping up bugs at night & during the early 1900s, Americans used straws to avoid contagious diseases from shared glasses. Straws have been useful & convenient, but today those plastic, colorful, bendy straws come with serious consequences.
Did you know most straws today are made from polypropylene, which is basically petroleum? Colorants, plasticizers & ultraviolet light filters are all added to the production of plastic straws, too.
Due to the demand for disposable food ware caused by consumer desire for convenience, the use of plastic straws is expected to keep rising. An average person will use approximately 38,000 straws in their lifetime; that means 500,000,000 straws are used everyday.
The more people use plastic straws, the more plastic will be produced. The more plastic produced, the more oil, gas and electricity used and – yes, the more carbon emissions and pollutants ends up in the environment.
Maybe some of this stuff sounds mundane and the obvious. But you know what’s equally as bad?
The impact of straws on oceanic life.
According to the Strawless Ocean, plastic straws are too light for recycling sorters. The straws fall through sorting screens and end up in landfills, that’s if they make it to recycling. Also, studies predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight - that’s scary.
Small marine animals can also confuse bits of plastic for food and choke on them. According to research done by PNAS, 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. Also, when marine animals ingest plastic, there is a 50% death rate.
Ditching your straw in your mojito and Mc.Donald’s Pepsi can go a long way. Don’t underestimate the impact in making small changes that can lead to collective community transformations. Have you ever felt the feeling of fish swimming past your leg? Yeah, I’d like to know it is fish and not your plastic straw.
Check out pastastraw.com – It’s an Italian brand changing the way we see straws forever by making them out of pasta. How inspiring. :)
By, Tanvi Goklani