Reasons why we should stop using plastic straws
THE next time you buy a soda in a to-go cup, you might be surprised to find your straw is made of paper. That’s because more and more restaurants are trying to stop using plastic straws, and some cities are even banning them.
It’s actually the small size of straws that makes them bad for the environment.
First, it takes energy and resources to make any object, which means to make plastic, we must create pollution and sacrifice dwindling resources, such as water and fossil fuels. Many items made out of thin plastic, such as straws and grocery bags, are meant to be used once. In most cases, it’s better for the environment to make and buy products that last a long time.
Most plastics don’t decompose or biodegrade when we toss them. Plastics can stay in landfills for hundreds of years. And plastic in the ocean floats around as small pieces
(called microplastics) that can poison animals and hurt the environment.
Humans have created about 9.1 billion tons of plastic since inventing the material and we don’t recycle most of it. Straws probably make up a small percentage of our trash worldwide. But they’ve recently gotten a lot of attention because of how difficult they are to recycle.
Recycling is very important: It keeps many of our plastic objects from spending hundreds of years causing trouble. Unfortunately, straws always end up in a landfill.
“Plastic straws and other items smaller than two by two inches, such as plastic utensils, fall through the machinery that sorts our recycling,” says Jonathan Kuhl of the Washington DC Department of Public Works.
“The best way to keep plastic straws out of landfills is not to use them – whether you’re at home or in a restaurant,” Kuhl says. “If you’d like to use a straw, there are paper and other nonplastic alternatives.”
Some people need plastic straws to drink due to physical limitations, so until we find an alternative that works for everyone, we can’t get rid of them entirely.
Paper straws will probably crop up at many stores and restaurants, but you can also try reusable straws made of bamboo, metal and glass.
Some companies even make straws out of pasta. You can try at home with a hollow noodle such as bucatini. Just don’t use it for a hot beverage, or you’re going to end up cooking a very strange soup! – Washington Post