Stop using plastic straws

BuzzOnEarth is an online publication on environmental sustainability and human wellness, focused on creating positive impact. BoE aims to bridge the knowledge gap and act as a catalyst in accelerating sustainable development.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Aren’t plastic straws recyclable?
  3. Why should one stop using plastic straws?
  4. How to stop using plastic straws?
  5. Alternatives to plastic straws
  6. Food joints and cities banning plastic straws and giving their contribution
  7. Conclusion

Introduction

According to a UNDP survey, the world generates 400 million tonnes of single-use plastic waste per year. Just 9% of the plastic waste is recycled out of this total. Plastic has become an unavoidable aspect of our everyday lives. Plastic has a direct or indirect effect on us. We are also aware of the health risks associated with the use of plastic. Plastic waste causes air pollution, which leads to respiratory problems; animals on land and in water are at risk of death and severe diseases as a result of plastic consumption; the scenic beauty of the landscape and water supplies are all becoming polluted as a result of plastic waste, and plastic is clogging drains and causing floods. In this race, plastic straws are very harmful to the environment. We use over 500 million a day in the United States, and the majority of them end up in our oceans, polluting the water and destroying marine life. We want to convince people to stop using plastic straws forever. The problem is so serious that by 2050, there might be more plastic in the oceans than fish. As a result, it is critical that urgent steps and strategies to manage plastic waste be taken.

Aren’t plastic straws recyclable?

This question might crop up in your mind that plastic is recyclable, and so are plastic straws. Then what to worry about. But the fact is. The majority of plastic straws are too light to pass through a mechanical sorter. They fall through sorting screens and blend in with other products because they are too small to be separated, contaminate recycling loads, or end up in the trash.

Why should one stop using plastic straws?

Every day, an estimated 500 million disposable drinking straws are used in the United States alone. In the twenty-first century, most people have become accustomed to using straws. In reality, in 60 years, the average person would go through 38,000 or more straws. Plastic straws are everywhere (literally), and we’ve been socialised to treat them as if they’re nothing. It’s fast, easy, and clean-up-friendly, just like anything disposable. However, when it comes to our world, its delicate habitats, and the wellbeing of our societies, the repercussions reach well beyond the moment you chuck your empty drink in the garbage. Below we share with you some of the reasons why should one stop using plastic straws.

Why should one stop using plastic straws?
  1. You might believe that drinking through straws would keep your teeth in good shape, but this is not the case. Drinking through a straw, in reality, will increase the risk of cavities. The sugar in your fizzy drink comes into direct contact with a particular region of your teeth, causing enamel loss and tooth decay.
  2. We drink more than just the water when we use a straw. Aerophagia occurs when an individual consumes too much air when drinking from a straw. Gas and bloating are triggered when the air reaches the digestive tract. Burping further to release swallowed air can be caused by extra air in the digestive tract.
  3. If you’re thinking about wrinkles, stop using straws right away. Regularly drinking juices through a straw may cause wrinkles, particularly around the mouth. You’re more likely to grow a “pucker line,” close to what smokers experience when they smoke cigarettes. The collagen near your mouth breaks down due to repetitive lip pursing, resulting in a permanent skin crumple.
  4. Polypropylene, a form of plastic, is used to make straws. Polypropylene is food safe, according to the Food and Drug Administration, but the chemicals in the straw may leach into the water. It includes a variety of chemicals that are potentially hazardous to your wellbeing. Furthermore, we are aware that plastic manufacturing is harmful to the environment.
  5. It has been found that when drinking from a pipe, people ingest more liquid. It encourages a person to consume a large amount of liquid in a short period. This leads to excess sugar consumption.

How to stop using plastic straws?

Although more cities and restaurants ban straws, there are some things you can do right now to reduce the plastic footprint.

  1. Straws may be made from a range of materials other than plastic. Glass, stainless steel, silicone, and bamboo can all be used to make reusable straws. There are also single-use straws made of paper or even an edible seaweed-based material.
  2. If you don’t want a straw in your drink, tell your server before you order it and tell your friends to stop using plastic straws unnecessarily.
  3. Support organizations working towards fighting plastic pollution. StrawFree.org, For a Strawless Ocean, and Be Straw Free are only a few of the groups and programmes committed to eliminating straws from our world.
  4. You should also persuade colleges, daycare centres, and other child-minding communities in which you are affiliated to reconsider using plastic straws in arts and crafts.
  5. Encourage your favourite restaurants only to have straws upon request and to substitute disposable straws with compostable or reusable alternatives.
  6. Switch to restaurants and eateries that are not using plastic straws.

Alternatives to plastic straws

Alternatives to plastic straws
  1. Metal straws are a perfect substitute for plastic straws. What is it about metal straws that makes them so appealing? They are as follows:
  • Reusable indefinitely
  • They’re sturdy, so they’re perfect for transport.
  • Toxic-free

Stainless steel straws are the most common type of metal straw available, but other metal straws, such as copper straws, are also available.

  1. Glass straws are another perfect natural alternative to single-use plastic straws and will definitely help in stop using plastic straws in future. They have their own set of advantages, such as:
  • They are not poisonous.
  • They’re usually heat resistant, so they’re suitable for both hot and cold drinks.
  • They can be seen again and again.
  • They can have some adorable designs.
  1. Bamboo straws are a perfect alternative to single-use plastic straws and will contribute in stop using plastic straws movement in future because they offer a variety of advantages, including:
  • Natural materials were used to create them.
  • They can be seen again and again.
  • They’re frequently made by hand.
  1. We are major proponents of all things reusable (including, of course, straws!). However, the reusable options mentioned above don’t always make sense, such as in restaurants. We have some great sustainable drinking straws that are biodegradable and natural and will help in stop using plastic straws.

Food joints and cities banning plastic straws and giving their contribution

Seattle became the first city to prohibit the use of straws on July 1, 2018. Some cities have been trying to pass their version of the straw rule. Starbucks has been chastised for being a major supplier of straws. Some U.S. locations have begun selling lids for cold beverages close to the hot-drink lid, with a “sippy-cup” style opening–still, it’s plastic, but it does remove the need for a straw. McDonald’s in the United Kingdom is attempting to alter our drinking habits. In March, the fast-food giant announced a plan to replace plastic straws with paper straws in all of its restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland. More Steps need to be taken to completly stop using plastic straws and other single use plastics.

Conclusion

These are just a few steps and actions that we, as individuals, can take to prevent plastic pollution, particularly plastic straws, which contribute to plastic pollution. With these baby steps and big brands and companies coming in support of fighting against plastic straws, we can move towards a plastic-free 2021. Read more how plastic is affecting our ecosystem.

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