Plastic straws may seem like a pretty small threat compared to climate change, animal agriculture, or deforestation, but they’re a perfect symbol of unnecessary waste. They’re also one more clever way Big Oil keeps us in its grasp. Cheap and convenient, it’s estimated that easily 60 million plastic straws (a.k.a. drinking straws) are thrown away every day! So, let’s take a look at five reasons they suck so badly and how to easily avoid plastic straws for your health and global health.
1. Toxins. There is mounting evidence that plastics, even when labeled BPA-free (which straws are not), have the potential to leach into what we eat and drink. So, using a plastic straw is an unnecessary risk for toxic exposure.
2. Wrinkles. Similar to smoking, the act of sucking on a straw over a span of years can increase wrinkles around your mouth. Why not proudly earn some smile lines instead for being an eco warrior?
3. Rarely recycled. Many plastic straws are made from polypropylene #5 making them harder to recycle, especially since they aren’t marked with the recycling triangle symbol. As a result, they end up in landfills and oceans for generations to come
4. Contaminated water sources. The accumulation of plastic in general ultimately threatens drinking water safety since landfills aren’t leak-proof and petro-based waste eventually seeps into underground water sources.
5. Wildlife threatened. Animals on land and at sea commonly ingest pieces of straws as they break down into smaller pieces and look like other forms of food. That can lead to malnutrition, gene mutation, and even death.
Taking action: If you don’t want to “suck” and are ready to avoid plastic straws as much as possible, simply request “no straw” whenever ordering a drink. Be sure to make the request right away because many establishments put straws in every drink, including tap water, without even thinking about it. If you’re feeling extra bold, talk with the manager and encourage him or her to reconsider their straw using policy, which can save their company money and increase profits. Businesses tend to like that part! Speaking of saving money, most states spend billions annually on cleaning up plastic debris. By changing our habits and inspiring others to do the same we help save some serious tax dollars.
Switching out the plastic: Goods news! If you want to keep your love affair with straws alive for entertaining, beverages on-the-go, or for keeping your lip gloss on (if you wear it) you can buy a reusable straw or even full sets of them. This is also a sustainable strategy (or thoughtful gift idea) for anyone who has a health issue that prevents him or her from drinking directly from a cup. SimplyStraws, who’s teamed up with To-Go-Ware, offers American made straight and bent straws plus cleaning accessories. Meanwhile GlassDharma sells more decorative straws along with sustainable, hemp sleeves to keep them in. Last, but not least, Endurance Stainless Steel Drink Straws are another fun option if you’re looking for something that’s extra durable. Great deals for these brands and many others can be found online with prices ranging from under $5 to over $30. So, let’s say au revoir to the straws that suck and hello to habits that are healthy for us as well as the planet.
My mission: As a Certified Holistic Nutritionist & Eco Expert, I’m dedicated to leading people straight to the core of what it takes to enjoy a new level of vitality, weight loss, and detoxification. I love helping people across the U.S. transform their lives.