Straw Wars - The Game Is On!
Plastic straws are one of the top 10 most picked up items on the beach, but now there’s a movement that can stop it!
There are many small changes you can make that will have a big impact on the environment.
This week, we look into the ideas behind the #stopsucking movement, why it’s so important to ditch plastic straws for alternatives and how simple this can be!
So why did we start using plastic straws in the first place?
Although the use of the first natural straws date back to 3000-5000 B.C. by the Sumerians, plastic drinking straws started infiltrating the market in the 1960s.
By now the use of plastic straws are all about style and convenience. Whenever you’re out and about at a restaurant or bar you’ll notice that people are always sipping cocktails with a straw or two. Some mixologists and bartenders believe a drink cannot be served without one. They are often trained to create drinks where the straw is the ‘finishing touch’.
It’s also a matter of convenience - when mixing cocktails, a quick and easy way to try them before serving is with a straw.
For some, using a straw is also seen as a more hygienic way to sip from a ‘used’ glass. When in fact, all registered cafes and restaurants have a steriliser that cleans dishes at a high temperature, with high quality dish washing liquid. This means that the glasses you’re sipping from are most probably cleaner than the ones you use at home!
But the real problem lies with the fast food industry, most straws are used there. It is estimated that McDonald's uses at least 60 million plastic straws daily world wide. And just in the USA alone 500 million disposable plastic straws are used per day!
Plastic straws take so long to break down! As stated in an article on the Green Matters website, “Each plastic straw that ends up in landfill or in the ocean can take up to 200 years to decompose.” Once plastic straws have broken down into little pieces, they become the perfect bite-size snack for fish.
Many single-use plastic straws follow this vicious cycle:
a human uses a straw → the straw ends up in the ocean → the straw breaks down into small pieces → a fish eats the straw → a human eats the fish.
Not only are we contaminating sea life and the greater ecosystem, we are also poisoning ourselves! Did you know that plastic straws contain fossil fuels?
When approaching the issue of global warming it seems as though we have gone beyond repair. However, when broken down it is clear to see that making small changes to our habits (such as using plastic straws) can strengthen our ecosystem and in turn, combat global warming.
And the solution…
There are many activists and everyday people campaigning for and empowering others to change. Movements such as #stopsucking have been established at a grass roots level to tackle local issues that also have a global impact.
We encourage you to take action, and make changes that will ensure Mother Earth is treasured for the many years to come:
Set a personal target. Perhaps you would like to focus on politely saying no to straws when ordering a drink at a bar or restaurant. You might even want to go ‘cold turkey’ - completely ditching straws in any and every setting.
Walk the talk! When forced into a situation where plastic straws are offered, remember your goal, and stick to it. It’s a great idea to always be prepared by bringing along your own reusable straw.
Empower others. Share your experience on social media by posting pictures with your straw alternatives (such as bamboo, stainless steel or biodegradable paper) and challenge your friends to do the same! If you work at a place where plastic straws are regularly used - present your boss with another option - why not offer alternatives or get rid of straws altogether?
The power of one is greater than none
Like many of the most significant movements in history, change starts with just one person. It can often be disheartening when you head to a beach and see hundreds of straws along the shore. However, if we all continue to make small changes, the power of many will have a beneficial impact on our environment.
It’s all about shedding our bad habits, and making a positive change before it’s too late! Will you join the movement and stop using straws or promote better alternatives?
Plastic Straw Facts:
- The earliest known drinking straw, dating back to 2000 to 3000 BC, was found in a tomb belonging to Sumerians, located in modern day Iraq in the Middle East, and was made of gold and precious stone, while a seal found in the same tomb depicts straws used to drink a beverage, most likely beer.
- Modern drinking straws were invented by Marvin Chester Stone from Ohio in the United States, who is said to have created a glued paper tube in the 1880s after drinking a beverage unpleasantly tainted with rye residue, and eventually patented his idea in 1888 after refining it.
- Plastic drinking straws started infiltrating the market in the 1960s and became so popular that by the 1970s they had made paper straws redundant
- Straws take 200 years to decompose
- Straws contain fossil fuels and can't be recycled
- Straws and other plastics end up as a mistake for food by fish and other sea life animals. Endless video's of the sea life with plastic in their stomach circulate around the internet (turtles, whales, birds). By now there is more plastic in the ocean then there are fish.
- The Conscious Club banned the use of straws altogether from the get go due to the effect of straws on the environment.
Portland Is The Latest City To Ditch Plastic Straws
Taiwan To Ban All Single-Use Plastic From Restaurants By 2030
Straw Wars: The Fight to Rid the Oceans of Discarded Plastic
THE LAST PLASTIC STRAW MOVEMENT