Say No To Plastic Straws!


Trinity Bailey , Contributor

Did you know that almost 1,000 sea turtles are killed by plastic each year? I bet you also did not know that plastic is in 94% of your city drinking water (Yes, it is hard to believe, but it is more than true). Straws are the top 10 most found plastics at the beach, and don’t get me wrong, hi-cones and plastic bags are in just as deadlybut most plastics of a larger volume are more recyclable than smaller, and or lighter plastics.  

Straws end up in the ocean easily, mostly from human error through overfilled trash, littering, or left on beaches and costal communities. By this rate, at the end of 2050there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, in weight! We need to take action starting today by saying no to plastic straws in their entirety. It is the only way to guarantee that plastic straws never make it to the beach, the ocean, or ultimately turtles.

If you’re wondering why straws cannot be recycled, it is because when most straws are too lightweight to go through the mechanical recycling machine. They almost always get put with other recyclables contaminating them, or not even making it through any type of recycling. 

Why is this deadly? This causes most straws to end up in the ocean and they never deteriorate. The straws instead break down into microplastics, and sit at the bottom of the ocean in the sand, or float at the surface of the water. More than just turtles consume these microplastics, including shellfish and even zooplankton which are the main source of food for most fish and whales. By 2050 it is seen that 99% of sea birds will have ingested plastic and mortality rate will be up to 50%. 

Studies have shown that microplastics as small as powdered sugar were found in 100% of baby sea turtles that were tested, and most likely they were dying because of plastic ingestion which threatens the species. 

 I very well understand that many people do in fact need straws and there are some benefits to them, including protection of cavities, and efficiency, or even people with Parkinson’s and other disabilities. They help tremendously, however they don’t have to be plastic! 

Some good alternatives for plastic straws could be metal re-usable straws or paper straws. Paper is biodegradable and recyclable all at the same time. Why not compostable straws though? Compostable straws are a particularly good idea, but the correct disposal is not practiced enough. They are only good in a compostable environment. If found in the ocean, they play the same effects as regular plastic straws. 

 What are some ways you can help? The easiest is to simply say no to plastic straws. When offered at a restaurant or drive-thru, simply make a pledge to say no. To take it to the next step, you can encourage small businesses to provide straws when asked for instead of handing them out by default. To learn more about what you can do visit this website for more information! Visit Here for compact straws that are efficient and easy to keep with you at all times!