Why are stainless steel drinking straws now encouraged? Is it due to the fact that they help the environment or is it just a mere coincidence? Let’s see.
The environmental impact of humanity on this planet can no longer be denied. With our rate of consumption far out-weighing our ability to effectively dispose of all the side products, namely plastic, we’re playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with the sustainability of the ecosystem.
Plastic straws environmental impact
Understanding that we’re dumping roughly 8 million tons of plastic into our oceans each year and considering that plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it becomes quite difficult to ignore the plastic elephant in the room.
However, some plastic is worse for the environment than others. Plastic Straws, for instance, is one of these products. Having a life cycle of about 20 minutes, these one-time-use products are filling up landfills and oceans faster than most other plastics. In the US alone, over 500 million plastic straws are getting consumed daily. These straws are then trashed and taken to landfills.
Another downside of plastic straws is that they aren’t recyclable. Seeing that the straws are so small, they tend to fall through the cracks of the plastic chippers and end up in landfills regardless.
There are a few places that have specialized grinders for plastic straws, however, the majority of recycling centers do not have this specialized equipment.
Nonetheless, if we were to rate plastic on “how bad it is for the environment”, plastic straws would be in the top ten list easily.
Can Stainless Steel Drinking Straws Actually make a difference?
It wasn’t until the 1960s that plastic straws actually ‘took off’. Before then, paper straws, glass straws, and even bamboo straws were commonplace. Today, 99% of all straw consumption are plastic straws.
Switching to stainless steel straws might seem like an insignificant gesture when you’re looking at stats like ‘the US alone consumes 500 million plastic straws daily’. However, changing a trend starts with individual action.
While your personal physical impact on the consumption of plastic straws would most likely be minimal, switching to reusable straws like stainless steel drinking straws would reduce the guilt of participation. Sure, you can’t stop the plastic industry from producing straws like it’s the end of the world, however, you do have the choice of supporting them or not.
When you tell restaurants or bars to “hold the straw”, you could inspire a conversation about “why” you are doing it. This kind of guerrilla influence is exactly what we need to reduce the demand for plastics around the world.
You might not be able to change the world by yourself, but if you inspire enough people to follow suit…you will do more than you can imagine. Not only is switching to stainless steel drinking straws the ethical choice, but it’s also friendlier to your wallet over time.