Welcome to the first step in our journey to live a little greener one “Eco-Habit” at a time. With summer upon us, I thought we could start changing the world by sipping our summery drinks one “less” straw at a time. As the Chinese philosopher Laozi once said, “A journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step.” Let’s start our journey to protect our planet with a single straw.
Why I am trying to live Straw-LESS:
I am not sure how it snuck up on us, but somehow it started to become common to be served a drink with a straw. We have gotten to the point where now around 500 million plastic straws are used in the US every single day! That’s enough to fill up 125 school buses – each day! It is estimated the average person uses an average of 1.5 straws a day and the average American family uses 1,725 plastic straws a year.
You may be asking yourself, so what? What is all the fuss over a tiny little straw? Well, it turns out all those tiny little straws are wreaking big havoc on our environment. The biggest problem is that many of those straws are made of plastic and enter our waterways. I recently learned that by 2050, there may be more plastic in the sea than fish! Have you heard of the now infamous “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”? It is now at 1.8 trillion pieces of trash and counting - and most if is plastic! Plastic straws that end up in our waterways can be eaten by a whale or stuck in a sea turtle’s nostril or wash up on a beach. In fact, single-use plastic straws are one of the most commonly found items at beach clean-ups.
The straws that don’t get eaten by a sea animal or wash up on a beach break down into a million small pieces called microplastics. These microplastics are being detected in 83% of our drinking water and 94% of US. tap water. So basically, you’re drinking plastic water straight out of that plastic straw. Yuck.
But I’m planning on throwing my plastic straw in the garbage or recycling bin, you say? Unfortunately, that just creates other problems. Straws that get thrown away in a garbage bin end up in a landfill and take hundreds of years to biodegrade. And we can’t even feel good about putting it in the recycling bin either: although most plastic straws are made of polypropylene, a plastic that can be recycled, straws are so small that when they are placed on the recycle conveyor belt, they literally “slip through the cracks” and, along with most bottle caps, end up getting tossed out with the debris and go right back into that landfill. Not convinced yet? Check this out this article that explains the problems with trying to recycle straws.
I know this all sounds depressing, but here’s the thing- YOU can do something about it! There are super simple things you can do to go Straw-LESS and live a little greener. So, we are going to focus on just this one simple action this month – going Straw-LESS. By the end of the month, my hope is that you will be so used to having drinks without a straw or with your reusable straw, it will be your new “Eco- Habit”. And you will know you are making a little bit of a positive difference for the environment. Each of your little bits of difference add up to a HUGE difference to our planet.
YOU CAN DO IT, IT’S SO EASY!
CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR MY GREEN FRIENDS LAUREN & LENIE'S FAVE STRAW ALTERNATIVES.
Simply skip the straw altogether. Tell your server or barista you don’t need one. (New research shows using straws gives you more wrinkles around your mouth anyway!)
Carry around a reusable straw.
Don’t like the idea of carrying around a reusable straw in your purse? Don’t worry, there are super cute straw sleeves to keep your straw protected and your purse clean.
Wondering how you get that reusable straw clean? I have you covered here too - straw cleaners are available to clean your reusable straw.
If you must use a straw, and you’ve forgotten your reusable straw, choose biodegradable or compostable straws, like those made from paper. This way, you are still reducing your use of plastic.
Encourage your family and friends to go Straw-LESS. Think of all the good we could collectively do for Mother Earth if we each adopted this Eco-Habit and encouraged just 5 friends to do the same. You can even buy them all reusable straws as gifts!
Are you a restaurant owner or manager? There is SO much you can do too! First, offer straws only upon request (be sure to train your staff to do so instead of having them automatically hand a straw out). Second, offer only biodegradable or compostable straws. Make sure to get some cred for your good deeds: add signage in your restaurant and/or post something on your menus and social media about how you are doing your part to help our earth by going Straw-LESS!
Take it one step further:
Learn more about the benefits and make the pledge to go Straw-LESS at LASucks.org.
If you’re a California resident like me, help get AB 1884 passed (no more straws in dine-in restaurants) by contacting your local legislators and signing this petition. If you're not a California resident, encourage your city, county or state to adopt a similar ban.
Know of a company supporting the Straw-LESS movement? Let me know so I can share!
Ask your favorite restaurants to go Straw-LESS and please share with me those that do so I can spread the word about the good they are doing.
Work at a restaurant? Ask your manager or the owner if the restaurant can implement a ‘straws upon request’ policy and offer only biodegradable or compostable straws.
Be sure to send me pics and videos of you going Straw-LESS.
Need a little more encouragement? Take one of the following actions to be eligible to be featured in my blog and win a reusable straw set from My Green Friend, Klean Kanteen:
Post pictures of you going Straw-LESS on my social media with the hashtags #strawless, #ecohabits, and #everydayecohabits.
Share this post and get 5 of your friends to go Straw-LESS. Remember to use the hashtags #strawless, #ecohabits, and #everydayecohabits.