It’s a beautiful hot day in the middle of summer. You’re sitting poolside with a nice cold drink in hand sipping out of your plastic straw enjoying the view and warm weather. After a few hours, you decide to head home for the day, so you get up and toss your cup and plastic straw into the recycling bin and head home. That is the last time you see, let alone think about, the plastic straw that you just recycled. You were environmentally conscious by recycling instead of just throwing it away in the trashcan, but what happens after you leave? What happens after the straw goes to the recycling plant?
Due to their thin, small, and easily bendable nature, plastic straws are not easily recyclable. A lot of recycling plants will not accept plastic straws as recycling, leaving the straws to go into landfills and oceans once they have been used.
You may ask ‘Why is this so bad? Landfills are made for trash.’ Because straws are so small, they are often mistaken for food and their circular shape can suffocate wildlife. To make things worse, most plastic straws are made from petroleum bi-product polypropylene, a product that does not naturally biodegrade in the environment. Over time plastic straws continue to break into tiny fragments of plastic instead of biodegrading. This makes it even easier for animals to mistake the plastic as food and for the plastic particles to go into the soil.
In July 2018, Seattle became the largest U.S. city to ban plastic straws; they are not alone. It seems like the initiative to ban/replace plastic straws is starting to catch on all over the world. Companies like Starbucks, who plan to phase out plastic straws by 2020, and McDonald's, who recently announced that it will ban plastic straws at its U.K. and Ireland resultants, have stepped up and are trying to do their part to help eliminate harmful waste. So why such a big push to get rid of plastic straws? Well, in short, plastic straws are really bad for the environment; especially ocean wildlife. According to Get Green Now, plastic straws can take 200 years to decompose. Yes, you did read that correctly, 200 YEARS. That’s longer than any human has ever lived on earth. That means that the plastic straws that we are using today will still be around for our great-grandchildren. I cringe thinking about the number of plastic straws that I’ve wastefully used in during my life.
Straws have become a huge part of society, but do they need to be plastic? Absolutely not. Companies like ours are heading in the right direction by creating safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic straws. Now it’s just up to you to get onboard. Choose to use a reusable straw or straws that are made from renewable resources, such as biodegradable paper, instead of plastic straws.