LiveGreen: Step away from the straw

by Melanie Stewart, LiveGreen | September 14, 2017

Image with file name: Straw0914.jpg

We suck.

We suck in the morning, we suck in the afternoon, some of us suck all day long, and many of us suck every day of the year. Celebrities suck too.

We suck up soda, water and other beverages, all through plastic straws. So many of us suck that the U.S. uses, and discards, 500 million plastic straws a day -- enough to wrap around the earth two-and-a-half times. What seems like a small piece of insignificant plastic adds up to 12 million pounds of plastic waste in the United States every year.

Because straws are small and lightweight they are prone to becoming litter and harming wildlife. This is especially true in the ocean, where they float and animals mistake them for other things, often food. Remember the terrible video with the sea turtle who had a straw stuck in his nostril? We suck because this is a part of the 28 billion pounds of plastic that makes its way into the ocean every year.

So the Lonely Whale Foundation has a way to help this problem: #StopSucking

Yes, straws are made from a plastic that can be recycled (so put them in the green recycling bin!), but this doesn't happen often and their size and lack of weight means they sometimes avoid the recycling process.

Straws are almost never needed. Restaurants often serve straws with glasses, even though you can drink directly from that glass. People take straws (and lids) for cups that are meant "to go" but then don't take them past their table.

If you do need a straw, there are reusable plastic straws that can be easily cleaned as well as reusable straws from a variety of other materials, including bamboo, which will biodegrade once you decide to #StopSucking for good.

This campaign is young, but it's taking off and spawning (pun intended) initiatives in towns across the country. Seattle is having Strawless September, Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom and the Smithsonian Museums banned them outright, and even this 9-year old changed restaurants in his Vermont town.

So #StopSucking! There's a good chance the beverage you are sucking up isn't that good for your health anyway.

Join me by visiting this page (probably the only website you'll ever see people getting slow motion face- slapped by an octopus tentacle) to take the pledge and #StopSucking.

Andrew Neville
September 14, 2017 at 1:33 PM

Depending on the drink, straws actually can help protect things like enamel if drinking a soda, so the teeth (and thus, enamel) doesn't come into contact with the very acidic drink. in some cases health should be prioritized over competing who can use less straws...

Deanna Hansen
September 14, 2017 at 10:36 AM

Plus, did you know that sucking a straw causes wrinkles near your lips?

Elizabeth Fiala
September 14, 2017 at 10:33 AM

Love that LiveGreen is bringing attention to this! I'm going to start carrying around a reusable straw and give that a shot.

Rachel Maley
September 14, 2017 at 8:15 AM

I remember when I was young (this would have been 1965 or so) that *paper* straws were used. Whatever happened to those?