I had a recent awakening as I read an article in Nantucket Magazine about the tragedies that plastic straws cause in our environment and across ecosystems.
As I read the article, I couldn’t believe how mindless and irresponsible we, as a nation, and this certainly includes me, have been in our use of plastic straws. Think about it, you go out to a restaurant and order a drink, or perhaps you didn’t even order it, but the server brings you a drink of water with a straw.
Now, if you’re like most people, you prefer using the straw because there is some level of uncertainty of the cleanliness of a publicly used glass at a restaurant, right? Alright, maybe I’m projecting my own fears and reasons for why I choose to use straws at restaurants, but the struggle is real.
Most of the time, we don’t even give the straw a second thought before we unwrap it and slide it into our drink. We’re just eager to take a sip! For kids, a plastic straw comes attached to their juice box for convenience.
At the coffee shop, plastic stirring straws are readily available for a momentary stir and then they get tossed! But where do those straws go after we use them?
Have you stopped to even think about it? I know I hadn’t! First, they are disposed of into the trash. Most of the time, they’re not even recycled. Then, they end up in landfills or possibly worse, directly into our oceans, fields, forests, etc.
The Sad Reality
Sadly, today’s oceans are under attack from the abundant disposal of plastics. Animals are ingesting these foreign objects causing great issues in our wildlife.
As if I need another reason so LOVE Nantucket (aka my favorite place on the planet and where I call home even though I don’t live there), I have to applaud them for noticing the problem and taking action to reduce and eliminate the use of plastic straws across the island.
Imagine this – Nantucket is a 47.8 square mile island and used approximately 3 million straws between the months of July and August last year. That’s insane!!
What’s more is that 500 million plastic straws are used DAILY in the United States. Even more insane!! With this awareness, activists on Nantucket launched the “Stop the Straw” campaign and have had several businesses sign on to take part in making a change for the better!
Can you imagine what a profound effect people could have on the wellness of our world if we’d just pause to consider our actions and then take steps to bring awareness to others about the issue? Let’s do it!
So what can you and I do to help?
Since most of us are so accustomed to having straws in our drinks, it might take a shift in our hearts and in our thinking to change our behavior and to encourage others to catch on too.
Here is what you can do right now to be more responsible and helpful in this call to action:
- Purchase a stainless steel straw that you can reuse whenever you need it! Not only is this a healthier option for your own health, you’re improving the health of sea life, oceans, and your environment! Don’t forget your family members too – give them the gift of a stainless steel straw and educate them on why it’s important to make the switch! GIFT IDEA ALERT!! It’s pretty simple actually, you can carry your straw with you and use it at restaurants, get togethers, picnics, coffee shops, or wherever! The best part, they’re reusable! It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
- Get active! Use your voice! Write a letter to your government or state representative and ask if they can support this call to action by reviewing our restaurant standards and requiring biodegradable options instead of plastic!
- Enlist restaurants to get on board. Restaurants can require patrons to request straws if needed, but they won’t give them out readily to everyone. OR, restaurants can choose to use a biodegradable straw instead.
- Simply turn down a plastic straw if it’s given to you. In my case, I need to get over my irrational fear that cups/glasses are dirty. I’ll survive and I’ll be helping other animals survive in the process too!
- Join the Stop the Straw campaign by clicking here. Your involvement means a cleaner world for you and generations to come!
Raise Your Awareness
It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being AWARE. I had no idea how pervasive the plastic straw epidemic was, but now that I am, I’m jumping on board with taking steps towards reducing my contribution to the problem.
Are there going to be times when you forget or use a plastic straw? Most likely! But just like anything, the more you consciously take strides to bettering yourself and creating healthy habits, things will improve.
Oh, and, psssst….spread the word, things happen faster that way! Happy sipping!