The backstory: Americans consume over 500,000,000 million straws EVERY SINGLE DAY. Stop, take a deep breath, and reflect. That's enough to fill 127 school buses EVERY SINGLE DAY. Could I make that up? Based on the national average of 1.5 straws per person per day, each person in the US will use approximately 38,000 or more straws between the ages of 5 and 65. Without question, straw production is one of THE most energy intensive processes on the planet.
The carbon footprint:
- Straws are made from petroleum. Oil has to be drilled to make them. Yikes!
- Straws then have to be manufactured, packaged, shipped and distributed. Big carbon footprint.
The harsh realities/impact:
- Straws never biodegrade. The earth simply does not know how to absorb them. Remnants of the first straw ever manufactured are somewhere out there - buried in a landfill or in the belly of a bird or sea mammal - but out there.
- Straws are not recycled but at this point, one might conclude that once a straw is made, most of the damage is already done.
- Some straws are incinerated generating toxic emissions which pollute the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
- Most straws go to landfills, are buried in the ground and leach harmful chemicals into the soil and groundwater. Sick and sad - right?
- Straws are BIG beach and ocean polluters. They are one of the top 10 items found in beach clean ups.
- It is estimated that over a million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals and fish, too numerous to count, are killed by plastic pollution each year and straws are a big part of the reason why. Do you want YOUR straw to be the one that ends up stuck in the nose of a magical sea turtle? I think not.
- Stop using them. Just say no to straws.
- Purchase reusable straws and USE THEM! Mrs. Green's pick is Glass Dharma because they are glass and you can get some really fun ones or Ukonserve.
- Join the One Less Straw Campaign, started by our friends at One More Generation (OMG), take the pledge and spread the word.
- Encourage restaurants you frequent to stop serving them or, at the very least, request your beverage of choice to be served straw free.