One of the most unnecessary plastic products currently in use is plastic straws. And what’s more, is that these straws can very easily be made from eco-friendly substitutes. The substitutes, in several cases, are even better than your usual plastic straws. And, to top it off, every person who decides to use an alternative product and not the plastic tube, will be saving marine lives in the thousands.
You will be amazed at the number of plastic straws that are manufactured every 24 hours – a whopping 500 million in total. A lot of people seem to think that these straws do not have that bad of an effect on the environment since they usually end up inside recycling bins. But this statistic is here to force them to rethink that belief – a mere 15% of all the manufactured plastics are recycled properly till the end.
The Majority Is Left Unrecycled
If we put that statistic to plastic straws, it would mean that about 425 million of them end up in landfill dumps per day. That is an immense number that does not get properly processed or recycled.
But a more serious problem begins when the landfills are filled up. Most of the straws, as well as the other tonnes of plastic waste from buildings and households that do not get properly recycled, end up in waterways and oceans. Similar to other plastic products which are very common, their final destination becomes the oceans. As a result, they have an extremely adverse effect on marine ecosystems and lives across the world. A recent study by the United Nations found that more than 800 species of marine life have become endangered because of excessive plastic waste in their habitats.
Furthermore, many people may believe that the smaller size of plastic straws means that they decompose faster. But that is not the case at all. The decomposition time of these products is still several thousand years before they are completely broken down. The statement is a rather preposterous one. As to why it is so, think about how many days or even minutes a plastic straw is usually used for. Usually, they are used as long as we are drinking one beverage. The moment the beverage finishes, we toss it aside. We hardly give a thought to what happens to that straw following this one-time use.
Online videos and clips all over the world have shown the damage that straws can do to marine wildlife. One of the videos showed a sea turtle’s nostril being clogged by a straw that had to be extracted.
Other Alternatives Are Better In Other Ways Too
The heartbreaking clips show the urgent need to switch to eco-friendly alternatives as soon as possible. There are already several that are quite easily accessible. Among them is SipWell. These are drinking straws made of stainless steel. They are 7 to 8 inches in length. They are also dishwasher safe. So they are very easy to wash and keep re-using.
StrawGrace is another option that is interesting. This is one of the more artistic renditions of the straw. These are straws made from handmade glass. They are clear, so you can see the fluid running through them making them pretty enjoyable. The clarity also reminds us gently that using them is keeping the oceans clean.
A drinking set made from stainless steel is also available. These are straws that are non-toxic and highly reusable. Their curved design mimics the original plastic straws which can bend. Of course, they also look classier and can be used for events.
All the options are compact and neatly designed. They can be carried anywhere and used to drink anything. If everyone switched to such options, a large source of plastic pollution in the oceans would be removed.