In recent years, people of all ages have started to pay attention to how their actions and purchasing decisions affect the environment. As of 2020, plastic waste has reached an all-time high. It has resulted in microplastics in almost every body of water on Earth and a plastic island the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean. Though switching to reusable straws may not immediately fix the issue, it’s a step in the right direction.
Back in the mid-1950s, scientists and researchers created a high-density polyethylene (PE) plastic that could replace wood and metal in many everyday objects. Plastic was light, yet durable, and because it was more affordable to produce, it saved consumers a great deal of money. Since then, numerous other types of plastics have been created, ranging from the plastic milk jugs in almost every refrigerator to things like toothbrushes and food containers.
Single-use plastic is a real issue. It can be defined as anything that is designed to be used once for a single purpose and then thrown away or recycled. It includes things like to-go food containers, water and soda bottles, grocery bags, plastic lids, and even plastic straws. These types of plastics take anywhere from 200 to 1000 years to decompose, and it never completely goes away.
There are many things you can do to limit your use of single-use plastic. Some of the best include buying and carrying reusable shopping bags, filling your own water bottle from the tap at home, carrying your own coffee mug to your favorite coffee shop, and even buying reusable straws that you can take with you wherever you go. These straws can be used over and over again, easily replacing plastic straws in your fountain drinks. They only take a few minutes to clean, and they don’t crack or dent like a traditional plastic straw.
Reusable straws come in a variety of materials, including soft silicone and durable stainless steel. The latter option is easy to clean and will not lose its shape, even if it finds its way into the dishwasher, so it’s preferred by many. They come in various lengths, including 5” cocktail straws, 6.5” standard drinking straws, and 8.5” straws in both standard and wide-mouth options, so they’ll fit drinks of all sizes. You can even choose colors that suit your personal style or your décor. The choice is up to you.
If you think replacing your straws won’t help the environment, keep in mind that there are studies suggesting that Americans use 500 million of them a day, and if only half of those people switched to stainless steel straws, that’s 91 billion straws a year that would never find their way into landfills across the globe. The more people who take that first step, the better – especially when they also commit to reducing or eliminating other single-use plastics from their lives, too.