Saying Goodbye to Plastic Straws
There's something you should know, and it might shock you.. Straws are in fact the devil.
Plastic in general is the Earth's enemy, but nearly everything we buy in the store is packaged in plastic, making it a huge feat to try and give up. There are some plastics that are worse than others though, and that is plastic that is used once and then thrown away. Examples of these would be the coffee stirs, grocery gags, water bottles, and of course straws.
What makes straws one of the most heinous plastic criminals is that they can not be recycled and will never ever ever ever ever ever ever biodegrade. What is really scary is that as American's alone we use 500 million straws a day. All these straws either live the rest of their days out in landfills for our great great great grandchildren to worry about, or end up in the ocean polluting our water and harming marine life.
Side Note: Please excuse the horrifying manicure I have going on in these pictures.
Reading all kinds of depressing news about my old friend Mr. Straw made me look into an alternative. I'm trying to slowly make changes in my life that are sustainable to our Earth and ethically friendly to our neighbors, and being a person who hates to be inconvenienced, I can honestly say this was an easy change to incorporate into my life.
There are tons of glass and stainless steel straw options available but I went with the brand Ecotribe because it came with two bamboo carrying cases, four straws, and two cotton cleaners. Now everyone please seat yourself for the next sentence. These four straws cost me 30$, which broke my frugal heart. Nearly all the eco-friendly straws on the market will cost a pretty penny, but the sea turtles are thanking us.
Besides the fact the straw is made of metal and not plasic, there is literally no difference in the functionality. A straw is a straw is a straw. So throwing a few metal or glass straws in your silverware drawer instead of continually buying disposable ones is a change anybody can make. The hardest part about this transition is using them in public.
I bought a straw set with a case because I had full intentions of carrying them in my purse.. However, my purse is on the smaller side and it did not fit comfortably, so in the car glove box they went. Bringing them into a restaurant felt weird and saying "no straw" to the waitress felt even weirder. Not that I got any crazy looks or that anyone cared, it was just different.
One other thing I am still getting used to is not forgetting them at restaurants. Thankfully my husband is a little more careful than me, but we are so conditioned to just leave the table when we are done eating that grabbing our straws is a foreign concept. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I don't lose a straw before the year is over.
Cleaning these straws is simple. If you're just drinking water at a restaurant, use the cotton cleaner to dry it off. If you're drinking a smoothie or pop, rinse with water first and then use the cotton pipping to dry and remove residue. I hate cleaning and I can tell you with a clean conscience that it's simple and takes only a few seconds.
I feel with most aspects of sustainable living there's a thought of "I'm just one person, what difference can it make", and the answer is a huge difference. There are plenty of companies now listening to their consumers and making changes to their products to help the environment. Starbucks just recently released a statement that they will no longer use plastic straws in their drinks. A small step that could make a huge impact. So even if you don't want to carry a straw in your purse, challenging yourself to rid your home of plastic straws and invest in reusable ones instead can really make a difference.