29th Govember 2019
If we could sum up 2019 in two words, it would be 'soggy straws'. The idea of slurping a liquid through a paper tube is neither appealing or smart. Despite the poor execution, much like a cat bringing in a half-dead mouse, they mean well.
Please don't let the unpleasant experience of using a paper straw take away from the bigger picture. While they may have been nicer to use on the surface, plastic straws are less than innocent. But they're so small, how can they possibly have such a big impact on our planet?
While straws are only a small part of our plastic pollution problem, they are very rarely a necessity, so can very easily be cut out of our lives. A lot of us have got into the habit of using a straw when drinking, but this habit is causing a big environmental burden.
You may be led to believe that using plastic straws is ok if you recycle them, however they are too small for recycling sorting systems to process, so drop through and end up mixed with landfill waste. Once in the landfill, they break down into microplastics which leach into the ocean, contaminating our ecosystems.
This is the best-case scenario. When straws aren't recycled and are littered or blow out of bins, they can make their way into gutters and streams and then eventually into the ocean. Here they may be ingested by our beautiful sea creatures, causing injury or even death. Even if not ingested whole, they will break down into microplastics and be ingested passively.
If you're somebody who needs or prefers to use a straw, there are some great reusable alternatives on the market. Stainless steel is a popular choice, and it comes with a cleaning brush to keep it hygienic. Just pop one in your bag and keep one at home and you can help the environment one drink at a time.