Plastic Straws: Convenience vs Extinction

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Plastic Straws: Convenience vs Extinction

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38.5 million tons of plastic waste was generated by the US alone. About 8 million tons of plastic waste is thrown into our oceans each year. But how does a problem like this get solved? For starters, the use of plastic straws can be eliminated. Plastic straws are typically used once and then they are disposed of. Disposing of these straws causes devastating damage to our environment. Plastic straws are not biodegradable, meaning they do not break down or decompose. This causes the straws to travel from the wind and disperses the harmful plastic around the environment. Plastic straws pollute our oceans as well as the land, causing harm to land-dwelling animals and also marine life. Not only do these straws cause damage to life around us, but it also wastes our limited fossil fuels. Many have advised that people and businesses change to paper straws or metal straws.

 Some places have banned the use of plastic straws and other plastic utensils that can be harmful to the environment. Seattle, Washington was the first major city in the U.S to ban the use of plastic straws. Other cities such as New York City and San Francisco are considering banning the use of plastic utensils as well. There have been many different movements and protests such as the anti-plastic movement that is spreading the awareness of plastic straws and other plastic utensils.

There are many different alternatives to use. Paper straws come from trees and trees can be replanted and repurposed. Paper straws are also biodegradable. Metal straws are not biodegradable, however, they can be washed after every use, so they are clean and reusable. Much like paper straws, bamboo straws are another alternative that can be used. Bamboo is biodegradable and can be replanted. 

The best alternative is to not use a straw at all. Straws are not a necessity. Do not fall guilty of harming the environment when there are many safer alternatives to be used. Make the change today from single-use plastics to reusable alternatives.

 

Ellie Hugunin, class of 2021, made an art piece that represents the plastic pollution issue.

“Environmental Impact of Plastic Straws. Say No to Plastic Straws.” TRVST, www.trvst.world/inspiration/environmental-impact-of-plastic-straws/.

Carrig, David. “Top 10 Trash Items Found Littering Our Beaches and Waterways – and the Weirdest.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 27 June 2018, 

Carrig, David. “Top 10 Trash Items Found Littering Our Beaches and Waterways – and the Weirdest.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 27 June 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/06/27/ocean-beach-pollution-plastic-trash/738173002/.