Ditch the Plastic Straw
Helping the environment one plastic straw at a time
Worries about plastic pollution led to us launching our range of eco-friendly drinking straws. Reading about the damage being done to wildlife, seeing first-hand the damage that was being done to coastlines and beaches, and then researching about the extent of the plastic pollution inspired us to make a simple change to start to improve our environmental impact. A straw seems like a small thing, but McDonalds use 1.8 million straws a day in the UK alone, and if carrying a metal straw can help to cut those numbers, it’s a start.
The UK government has a plan to drastically reduce single use plastic waste, including straws, by 2025, and other countries such as Taiwan are following that lead. Metal straws are a way that I can make a contribution to improving the environment, and since I started carrying them there has been a noticeable difference in my attitude towards other unnecessary waste.
Metal straws have got a long history – the ancient Sumerians used straws made of precious metals to get to the bottom of the fermented drinks that they made.
5000 years later, and straws have ceased to be solely a means for rich people to get drunk. The current popularity of straws actually started around a hundred years ago in America, when people realised the public health dangers of the newly popular soda fountains in America (whilst the soda was clean, sharing cups was not).
The solution? Straws: often rye straw. The problem with this was that it often fell apart, and imparted some of its flavour into the drink. Eventually, with this being America, capitalism found an answer and paper straws replaced the 100% natural answer that had already been provided. Once technological advances had given us plastic, that took over. Soggy straws were a thing of the past. If you want more information on the history of straws check out this great article in National Geographic.
Why go reusable?
Plastic straws are much cheaper to produce than paper straws, and paper still produces waste which then relies on being recycled. This is why we think carrying reusable eco-friendly metal drinking straws is a great way to get around the problem.
There are a number of reasons that people want to use straws, including;
- Iced drinks in summer can be difficult to get to the bottom of without either a straw or a face full of ice;
- If you have sensitive teeth like me, a metal straw means that you can enjoy a refreshing drink without the pain that can come with it;
- Dentists also suggest that using straws can reduce the impact of sugary drinks on your teeth (annoyingly even natural sugar causes damage so fruit juices can be damaging);
- Thick drinks can be as difficult to drink as icy ones, so using one of our metal smoothie straws can stop you getting smoothie on your cheeks and in your hair;
- People also like to keep their makeup in place, and a straw stops you needing to reapply your lipstick or lip gloss.
We know that plastic waste is a big problem, and globally estimates suggest that as many as 100 marine animals die each year from plastic pollution, as well as around a million seabirds. It goes without saying that even if these estimates are exaggerated, they are far too high.
Plastic straws are small so they are sometimes underestimated as a pollutant. We don’t see them blowing around or blocking drains like we do plastic bags but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to reduce their usage. 7% of plastic debris comes from straws, and the damage they do isn’t limited to poisoning marine life. A quick google search shows distressing images of animals impaled on straws, causing both death and injury. We’ve already spoken about dangerous additives like BPA and polypropylene leaching out of plastic products here, and they pose a health risk to both marine and human life.
Owning reusable products can help to bring the amount of plastic used down, whether it’s reusable bags, metal straws, a drinks bottle, or glass jars for storing loose grains, powders and rice. For those who don’t have a physical need for a plastic straw, this is one of the places where we think individuals can make the biggest impact. Carrying your reusable metal straw, in its handy pouch, with its straw cleaning brush, means you can still enjoy the drinks you love, and you can pass on plastic.
Carrying your reusable products with you also shows businesses that there is another way. Saying no to plastic can make people think twice before putting a plastic straw in every drink, wrapping produce in plastic bags or cling film, or giving you a takeaway cup for an inside drink. Raising awareness can be as simple as demonstrating good behaviours yourself.