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Plastic Free July, Day 2: Straws

plastic straws pollution

(Back to the challenge summary)

No More Disposable Plastic Straws

Everyday in the US we use 500 MILLION plastic straws: it's enough to wrap around the Earth's circumference 2.5 TIMES A DAY!!

Don’t you think it’s ridiculous? It's an unnecessary object that massively pollutes our oceans. Because it’s useless in most situations, we could actually easily get rid of it, there are already eco-friendly options for everyone!

Some people could ask “Why focusing so much on straws when there are so many other disposable plastics around us?”. Straws are a symbol: they are the gateway plastic to grocery packaging, take out containers and single use plastics in general. This is the easiest way to raise awareness and understand the terrible consequences of using plastic, a very durable material, to make disposable items.

Plastic Straws Facts

-They are NOT RECYCLED: they are too small, they can’t be sorted out in recycling centers. They always end up in landfills or in the environment.

-They are in the top 4 plastic items found during beach cleanups.

-More and more cities and big companies are banning them: In California, Alameda, Carmel, San Luis Obispo, Davis, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco and Berkeley either have a ban or are planning one.

 

Reusable and Compostable Straws or No Straw at All!

reusable metal bamboo glass straws

Now let’s talk about what we can all do to reduce plastic straws consumption:

1/ The best and probably the easiest solution: GO STRAW FREE whenever you can. Request "no straw please" when you order your drinks. Sometimes you have to anticipate because the waiter will bring you water with a plastic straw before he even talks to you. It’s crazy how this has become the norm, especially with kids who get a plastic cup and a plastic straw instead of a regular glass. When this happens to me, I politely refuse the cups and the straws as soon as they are brought to the table; I ask for regular glasses and I shortly explain that I’m avoiding single use plastics. They may throw them away, but I hope that at least they will hear my message. And if enough customers do that, it could encourage the restaurant management to change for plastic free options. That's the power consumers have.  

2/ Switch to stainless steel, bamboo, glass or straw (yes, straw straws!). Personally I prefer stainless steel and glass as they can last forever. But bamboo and straw are compostable and perfect for a cocktail party!
Essential accessory: the brush to help you clean your metal, bamboo and glass straws.
And when you go out, bring your own straw, packed in a cute Straw Sleeve or in your bamboo utensils set!

Isn’t it way better than plastic? ;-)

A well deserved shout-out to these companies for making plastic-free straws: Hay Straws, Glass Dharma, Simply Straws.

 

Are you a restaurant or bar owner? Do you serve plastic straws?

Please please, if you’re currently offering disposable plastic straws to your customers, consider switching to sustainable alternatives. One strategy is to serve straws on request only. Contact The Last Plastic Straw Project or One Less Straw, they will help you switch to a plastic free option and they will add you on their website, in their list of plastic straw free businesses.

Another great contact in the Bay Area: Rethink Disposable, a program of Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund that works with businesses throughout California to help them reduce disposable products, reduce waste, and save money. Check out The Sacred Wheel cheese shop testimonial!

 

Thank you so much for following this challenge, see you tomorrow for Day 3!

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