This is not my typical blog post on here. And I am NOT writing it to shame anyone or make you feel bad about yourself. This is something I feel very strongly about and have for a while so I wanted to be able to share it with you all as part of my new series, “Green and Glam”. The topic? Plastic straws. Specifically, plastic straws and their impact on marine life. This is not something I was honestly aware of until living in Hawaii where a number of wonderful people have passionately taken up the cause. After hearing about the issue, seeing photos of the damage done to sea turtles through the use of plastic straws, and after having my own experience snorkeling with these stunning creatures, I knew it was something I too would always be passionate about. But it’s not just sea turtles…
•Every year 1 MILLION seabirds and 100,000 THOUSAND marine animals die from ingesting plastic.
•Plastic straws are the 11th most found ocean trash
•It takes up to 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose. And they cannot be recycled in most places!
•500 million straws are used by Americans daily!
(Info from get.green.now)
Also, it’s not just plastic straws. Plastic waste in general (particularly single-use plastics) are polluting our oceans and killing our wildlife. Animals are eating plastic because they think it is food, they are being trapped in it and left to die slow painful deaths, they are inhabiting plastic bottle caps because we have removed all the shells from the beach while on vacation but left our garbage behind. Read this article from National Geographic for more information and the most moving images.
WHAT CAN I DO?
This is the hardest part. Once you start to take note of how many plastic straws you are going through (and how much plastic is involved in our everyday life) it feels overwhelming. I thought for years that I was a plastic-conscious person, but it turns out I hadn’t even scratched the surface! Here are a few things I do, and you can as well, to eliminate your use of plastic straws.
1.Say no thank you to straws at all restaurants.
I get a lot of odd looks – especially at Starbucks – when I say I don’t need a straw. But you really honestly do not need it. it’s something we have become accustomed to, but will be just fine without.
2. Use a paper straw.
I travel with these in my purse at ALL times. Do I feel like a crazy person occasionally whipping my own straw out after refusing a straw from my server? Yes. Yes I do. But then I just think about the sweet little sea turtles and how I really want my daughter and future grandchildren to have the magical experience of swimming with them. And I just don’t care what anyone thinks. You can get paper straws at Target in the dollar spot or at Amazon (click here) or use a stainless steel straw
When you’re refusing straws and using your own when needed, the impact can sometime feel SO SMALL. It totally isn’t but I get the feeling. I definitely want to do more to educate others and together we can make a bigger impact. That’s why I LOVE that thelastplasticstraw.org has the printable education cards that you can leave at restaurants wherever you go. Just stick it in with your check when you are done. It’s so easy and once someone knows, they KNOW! We can only act upon the information we have!
I hope that this quick blog post has been informative! I would love it if you would take this information and research it further to implement these animal/planet saving tips into your everyday life! Drop me a comment below about how you reduce plastic straw use/plastic waste on a daily basis.