Why to ditch those plastic straws – and what you can do to replace them.
Have you ever wondered how many billions of people there are on the Earth? Have you ever wondered how many of those billions of people use straws and how many straws said people use in a lifetime…we’re talking billions and billions. But of course straws are harmless…you don’t really believe that do you? Do you seeing where I’m going with this? Do you know that the first straws were made of paper and patented in 1888. By the 1960′s plastic straws were being quickly mass produced…how many straws have ended up in the garbage since then. (insert Joey “WHOA” here) That’s a lot. So here’s the straight up bad goods on these baddies…
In some cases they can be recycled but most never are. You can wash them but at high heat (dishwasher temps) they could release toxins that may pollute your body such as Bisphenol A (BPA). Although most straws do not contain BPA you don’t want to leave anything to chance because we all know we should avoid it (endocrine disruptor, hormone shapeshifter, reproductive disorders, among other health issues). Most straws are made of polypropylene #5 which is “food safe” and “heat resistant” to a certain degree but we really should avoid heating all plastics and eating from them. Going back to the first point, even if you are washing your straws (and be honest, how many of you are actually washing plastic straws?) Even reusing them after washing still has most of them ending up in the landfill at some point. Plus think of the water use and fossil fuels to make and distribute these little polluters. Not to mention that they are made of plastic that we should all be trying to reduce because it breaks down so slowly. For some extra insight of this point check out the documentary Life After People – this highlight how nature will erase our presence, but as you will see, plastic will be our legacy. We can all help a little here.
So what is one to do? Well you could start by just drinking from the cup – I know I know, you don’t want lipstick smudges. So how about stainless steel or glass? Last spring I made the switch to stainless steel straws at home (these are what we use) and for Christmas we were given a shorter set see these ones from a family member who is one of the biggest environmental inspirations we know in real life. I love both sets but there are nice glass options too such as these. I try very hard to remember at restaurants to ask for no straw but I’m not perfect and forget sometimes which is why I want to sew myself a little straw case to carry in my purse with one of my straws so I always have it handy. Plus they keep your drink so cold as it gets to your lips. Love it. It’s such a simple thing that would make such a huge difference if we all did it and if you buy straws at home…think of the money you will save!