You may have noticed something missing at some of your favorite bars and restaurants recently, plastic straws.
Over the past few months what was once a whisper by environmental activists has now become a full on nationwide war cry calling for a ban on plastic straws.
The movement to oust plastic straws has spread across the U.S., from Miami Beach, where straws are now banned, to Malibu, where the prohibition also extends to single-use plastic utensils and stirrers with restaurants moving to either paper straws, bamboo straws or “no-straw” policies.
The anti-plastic-straw movement comes amid growing recognition of the environmental toll of all the single-use plastics that people throw out. The word has spread rapidly mostly because of recent social media campaigns using celebrities to ask people to stop using plastic, as well as a viral video of a sea turtle having a plastic straw extracted from its nostrils that has been viewed more than 30 million times on YouTube. (Seriously this video is so sad- you will never want to use a plastic straw again).
Straws are among the most common plastic items volunteers clean from beaches. The statistics are crazy- according to Go Straw Free Americans use and discard HALF A BILLION plastic straws every day. That many straws could wrap around the Earth 2½ times!
Plastic has become so common in oceans that it’s being found in large quantities in the bellies of sea birds, whales, and even fish sold at supermarkets. Environmental experts estimate that 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in the ocean, harming ecosystems and animals.
Ordering your drinks without straws is a small sacrifice but a big step to reducing the amount of plastic we produce and waste.
How can you help?
- Support restaurants that are embracing the change. Starbucks has pledged to be straw free by 2020 (you may have noticed the new sippy cup style lids) and my favorite spot California Pizza Kitchen, who’s yummy drinks are pictured below, is doing their part to cut down waste by only offering plastic straws upon request.
- BYOS- Bring your own straw. If you can’t completely say bye bye to straws try carrying a reusuable straw with you. I am a HUGE fan of Primal Ethic’s Bamboo Drinking Straws. They are sustainably sourced, reusable, natural, organic and biodegradable PLUS they look really cool, are super fashionable and a great conversation starter.