It’s week two of 52 Weeks for Earth, the 52-week challenge to gradually reduce your impact on the planet. As we ease into the challenge here’s another simple change to make; quit using plastic straws.
Generally, so little thought goes into a single straw you probably don’t realize that, based on the consumption of straws in the US, you may have used over 45 straws just in the last month. That 20 minutes of convenience before throwing it to landfill is a small fraction of the hundreds of years they’ll take to break down on earth. During that time, a straw might likely find it’s way into waterways, eventually breaking up into microplastics polluting our oceans and poisoning marine life. Straws are one of the top ten items littering beaches internationally.
So that’s hundreds of years on earth for something you never asked for, and for the most part, never even needed in the first place. The challenge to quit using plastic straws is easy (especially when you replace them when needed with your own personal reusable metal or glass straw), all you need to do is politely ask for ‘no straw’ with your drink order.
The only difficult part of this week’s challenge is remembering; up until now your straw use is probably something you’ve given very little thought to, so to achieve no straws coming your way you’ll have to be diligent. Every single time you order a drink, order it with ‘no straw, please’, loud enough for your server to hear, and register. Even if you’ve asked for just a water and every other table around you doesn’t have a straw in their water glass; if you don’t ask for no straw you’re still quite likely to be given a straw. Trust me, I know this from experience…
Once you commit to no longer using plastic straws you’ll start to notice just how out of control this problem is. The amount of pointless waste is so huge you’ll start wondering how it’s even possible, or legal, in the first place. Luckily there’s groups all over the world working to change that. So if you want to go further than just stopping your own use, you can support one of those, or start a movement in your own community to encourage businesses to stop enabling this bad habit. Or at the least start a conversation with your friends or servers about why you’re opting of no more straws.