Last week I took a little trip to Clearwater, Florida. While it was an incredibly beautiful place there was one thing that infuriated me as I walked along the sand: trash. Plastic cups, wads of aluminum foil, takeout containers, and of course, plastic straws. I can’t tell you how many of these I picked up and placed angrily in the trash.
Lately it seems there has been more of a widespread outrage against straws. In several places they have already been banned and replaced with their more eco-friendly alternatives. As great as this seems, many people have retaliated saying that stopping the use of plastic straws won’t make a difference. Maybe in the grand scheme of things theres a little truth to what these pessimist are saying. Giving up straws probably won’t save the world, unfortunately. But guess what? It’s a step towards just that. Once we eliminate one unneeded piece of plastic we come closer to eliminating another, and another, until hopefully we reach the peak of a plastic-less society. Not only that but when I was in Clearwater there were many restaurants that had signs explaining why they refused to use plastic straws. This in turn sparked conversations- one by my own family. They turned to me (since I am always trying to educate them on the harms of plastic) and asked “Why straws? What makes them worse than other plastics?” and I explained to them that that wasn’t actually the case, in fact it was all plastics that are bad, straws are just one of the most unnecessary and easy to eliminate.
So it is important. Every straw you refuse at a restaurant not only spares the environment but sparks conversation, or at the very least curiosity. This hopefully opens a window of enlightenment for someone who maybe didn’t even consider how the things they used daily impacted the environment.
Personally I have tried to give up plastic straws. It is not easy! I started off by buying a pack of stainless steel straws like the ones found here. (Not sponsored). While in college I tried to keep a few of these in my backpack so that whenever I got a drink I could refuse the straw and pull out my stainless steel one. Did it feel silly? Oh yes. But it also felt good to know that even that little bit of plastic wasn’t going to end up in the landfill because of me.
Want to read more? There are thousands of sources online that will tell you more about what you can do. One that I like can be found here. It talks about a lot that I have mentioned here but also goes more in depth with what else you can do.