Time to stop sucking…literally!

Most readers have probably already seen the huge anti-plastic campaigns going on at the moment, many of which drew public attention after harrowing footage of plastic pollution was shown in Blue Planet II.

A particularly prominent campaign I’m following closely is ‘Stop the Plastic Tide’ by MCSUK.  Some MPs are even paying attention and calling for a ban on plastic straws amongst other single-use plastic items such as cotton buds and plastic bottles.

In response to the outcry, the Government has recently pledged that unnecessary plastics will be a thing of the past by 2042 as part of its 25 year environment plan. Aside from changing my own habits and sharing posts on social media, I feel relatively powerless so I’m writing these posts in an attempt to further raise awareness. I wish I lived closer to a beach as I’d love to get involved in beach cleans; I’m determined to do one anytime I do visit one.

Each post I write about plastic pollution is only going to be about a single unnecessary item so that readers can see how easy it will be for them to make a tiny life change. I’ve already posted about disposable coffee cups, and this post is about an even less necessary beverage-related item that shouldn’t even exist. Plastic straws!

Why straws?

We only use straws for a very short period of time (20 minutes on average), but they then remain on the planet for hundreds of years. Most straws are made from plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene; unless they’re recycled correctly, they take hundreds of years to decompose.

Plastic straws are so thin that they can fall through slats during processing, often ending up in the ocean.

During a clean-up organised by the Marine Conservation Society last year, an average of 138 pieces of food and drink-related waste were found on every 100m of UK beaches.

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Picture credit: Less Plastic

Over 500 MILLION plastic straws are used each day in the United States.

Many restaurants are beginning to see sense; Wetherspoons recently pledged to stop using plastic straws; they were using around 700 millions straws a year. It’s great that such a large company have decided to set an example (and it’s good PR for them too!).

I was also in a Las Iguanas the other day and noticed posters saying they won’t give straws out anymore unless asked (although I was later given a straw so not sure the bar staff got the memo!).

There is definitely progress but the best way to speed things along is consumer pressure. Next time you’re given a straw, say no! If we stop using them, businesses will quickly latch on and stop buying straws in; it’ll save them money anyway so it’s a win-win.

 


I always try really hard not to judge other people’s decisions, but in this case I am struggling to understand why people still use plastic straws. There is just no need!

Still want to suck?

It is true that some dentists have suggested that using straws can reduce tooth damage, but ultimately the key is to drink less sugary drinks! However, if you’re still desperate to suck, you can get some great biodegradable straws.

Environmentally friendly options are popping up everywhere and can be made from a number of things including stainless steel, silicone, bamboo and even wheat.

Check out EcoStrawz; they sell every eco-friendly straw you can imagine!

 

Want to read more?

Plastic pollution coalition

The last plastic straw

Straw Wars – Restaurants/bars/clubs can sign up here to pledge that they have stopped using plastic straws

 

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