Seemingly overnight, plastic straws have become environmental enemy number one. Due to their small size, straws are often mistaken for food by animals and because of their cylindrical shape, straws can cause suffocation and death to them.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, plastic straws are among the top five most common items found during the International Coastal Cleanup, along with other single-use, disposable plastics. Plastic straws are particularly dangerous because they are not recyclable and pose a threat to marine life. “The production process is also a problem,” Kaylin Marcotte, co-founder of Project PlastICK, wrote in his research paper. “They’re made from fossil fuels that require tons of energy and natural resources to be extracted and refined.”
Plastic straws are cheaper than stainless steel alternatives when considered as single units. However, we need to look at the total cost in the long-term to get the real picture. Plastic straws are single-use items: we use a plastic straw once for a few minutes, throwing it straight after and using a new one the next time. Think to the number of straws you use in one year. What’s their overall intrinsic cost (incl. cost to produce them)? Then, compare that with a single metallic straw that you can use and re-use for years.
Another way to look at this is the cost to the environment. Destroying the environment with landfills full of toxic non-biodegradable plastics and plastic-derived chemicals is one thing. Then there is also their negative impact on the air, water, animals, human beings, etc.
There are so many environmental and financial costs associated with the use of plastics. We can avoid, or at least reduce them, if we shift towards reusable products which are alternative to plastic.
Make it a goal: next time you order a cocktail or a juice-infused tea, proudly skip the plastic-wrapped plastic straws and use your own reusable straw. You can try one that is easy to clean and to bring with you everywhere (in your bag, backpack, pocket, keys chain). Whether it’s a stainless steel (you can check our collapsible solution), glass or bamboo straw, these options force us to regain control over our mindless slurping habit. Otherwise, if you prefer, just enjoy your drink without any straw - the most sustainable option.