Plastic straws get a bad rap. These ever-present modern-day tools serve a simple function, helping us suck our drinks down without putting cups to our mouths. Arguably totally un-essential (except those that may require them due to physical limitations) we use them once and throw them away. But times are changing. Companies are choosing to replace them with paper straws or other eco-friendly alternatives. Consumers are saying no. Governments are working towards banning plastic straws. Is it all but time for the last straw? Check out our plastic straws infographic below.
In many ways, plastic straws typify our wasteful habits and have become something of the poster child of the plastic-free movement. We’ve had a long history with plastic straws. From drinking beer through reed straws in ancient times. Through their use to help prevent the spread of disease in America’s soda fountains. Of course, the really big increase in the use of plastic straws came about with the growth of fast food and takeaways. It’s hard to picture a burger meal sold anywhere in the world without an accompanying soda and plastic straw.
So what's the problem with plastic straws? The environmental impact of plastic straws is well documented. Horrendous pictures of beaches littered with plastic can now be seen across the mainstream press. Plastic straws in the ocean washed up on beaches are the 7th most collected item.
Meanwhile, anti-straw movements have popped up across the internet.
Of course, plastic straws don’t just mess with the beauty of our beach walks. Marine life is impacted too. Single-use plastic doesn’t biodegrade. Rather it breaks down into smaller microplastics which marine life often consumes. In fact, a study by the UN states our plastic mess is negatively affecting more than 800 animal species. And costing economies millions.[ref]
One of the questions that regularly gets asked is are plastic straws recyclable? The answer is yes and no, often because of their weight they don’t pass well through recycling processes. There are also a few tricks to dispose of plastic straws correctly.
It’s worth noting that plastic straws are a relatively small part of the overall plastic problem. A 2015 study suggests that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic get dumped into our oceans every year. Needless to say, straws make us just a small fraction of the total.
However, the thing with straws is that we can all chose to make a difference. Some have called them “gateway plastics.” Each change away from plastic straws to more eco-friendly alternatives helps to raise awareness of the plastic waste issue. Choosing eco-friendly reusable straws or asking for non-plastic straws is a conscious step towards reducing the environmental harm of single-use plastics. It’s a step in the right direction for all involved.
At TRVST we connect people to create a positive social impact. By inspiring people to make small changes we hope to play a small but important role in helping to address some of the big issues of our time. Plastic waste is one of those.
If you own a blog or website and would like to include our plastic straws infographic you are very welcome. All we ask is that you please use the below embed code which is easy to copy and past in or simply include a credit linked back to www.trvst.world.
Copy and paste the code below into your webpage or blog post. You're free to do so, go on 🙂
Thank you for your help and support helping us to help the planet reduce plastic pollution. Our aim here is simple, with each share we hope to encourage a handful more people to reduce their use of single-use plastic. Together we can create the change we all want to see.
Design Credit Pete Duggan