Plastic straws have long been a complimentary yet somewhat merely decorative feature for all sorts of iced beverages in cuisines across the globe. Its humongous amount of waste, however, is usually eclipsed by the amount of waste plastic bags cause. It’s time to put a stop to this wasteful tool as well, and here are the reasons why.
- Plastic straws cause a huge waste
Imagine the waste caused if shops throw away the brand-new plastic cups each time after it serves its first and only client. Well that’s how wasteful straws are. Each day over half a billion straws are used in the United States alone, making it one of the top five most common items found on the shores during international coastal cleanups. These little sticks might be tiny in size, but their vast quantity is the reason why they stick around.
- Plastic straws cannot be recycled
Straws nowadays are simply too light to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. They end up in the piles of other wasteful materials too small to be separated. But when these tiny items accumulate in numbers, they can bring a huge impact on the environment, spreading across the ocean and shorelines as mentioned above. This impact is usually underrated due to too much attention grabbed by plastic bags. Other more durable materials to make straws such as glass and metal only account for less than 1% of straws used nowadays. The unrecyclable nature of straws coupled with the sluggish progress of replacing plastic is precisely why plastic straws contribute to a huge amount of waste.
- Most of us simply don’t need a straw
Yep. There aren’t any practical needs for us to use straws right? Straws are an essential tool for those who have autism, MS or who have just suffered from a stroke. This type of physical disability warrants a straw, so do we really want to say that our need for a brief moment of comfort when we slurp our drink is as important as an autistic patient trying to get hydrated? If we realize how unnecessary straws really are, we can all help cut the use of straws without bringing any major impacts, if any at all, to our lives. Plus, we would also like to debunk the claim that straws are crucial for hygiene purposes. There is no scientific proof that there is a significant link between hygiene level and the use of straws. We simply don’t need straws. Period.
- Your voice matters a lot in this movement
The political reality is that the plastic industry will definitely push back outlaw the use of plastic, not just limited to plastic straws. California has become the first state to pass a bill to ban plastic bags, yet other states like Florida, Missouri, Idaho, Arizona, Wisconsin etc. have seen their state legislators being pressurized by plastic manufacturers. The people in California have spoken, the legislative success is proof that they’ve been heard. It is time to make our voices heard as well, to show our awareness on how wasteful plastic straws and plastic as a whole are to society.
- Even if all the above doesn’t sway you, at least care about your looks
Dermatologist and founder of Specific Beauty Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd has shown her scientific findings that straws can add pucker to your cheeks and create wrinkles around your mouth. Slurping drinks through the straw is even similar to puffing cigarettes and may give you all beauty-goers a wrinkly smoker’s mouth. Say no to straws, or your face will have more flaws.
Refusing plastic straws is only a small step for us to take towards our ambition of reducing plastic use to the minimum. Scientifically speaking, I’m confident you’ll be looking good if you stop using straws now.