Sayonara Single-Use Plastic Straws
As more American cities move to ban single-use plastic straws, you might wonder just how much impact these prohibitions could possibly have. After all, how much harm can a small, lightweight straw actually do? Sadly, a LOT.
Americans use 500 million plastic straws daily. These relatively tiny pieces of plastic only contribute minimally to the 8 million tons of plastics that flow into the ocean every year. However, their smaller size makes them particularly hazardous to marine animals who become entangled in them (like the sea turtle who had one stuck inside a nostril).
Since plastic isn't biodegradable, rather it breaks down into smaller fragments, it is also easily and frequently ingested by sea birds, fish, and smaller sea animals (like shellfish and mussels)—and subsequently ingested by humans.
So far, Fort Myers and Miami Beach, FL, Seattle, WA, San Luis Obispo, Davis, and Malibu, CA have all legislated bans or limitations on plastic straws. In Britain, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has vowed to outlaw sales before the end of 2018. In other cities, such as New York, businesses are leading the way by offering consumers biodegradable alternatives, such as paper straws.
The ordinances still allow for the distribution of straws made of paper, plant, vegetable, and other materials that are not artificial or synthetic.
Those advocating for the ban on plastic straws realize that consumers are overwhelmed by the magnitude of our plastic addiction. The hope is that the legislation will educate society and pave the way for behavioral changes and larger reductions for single-use plastics.
So far consumers seem to be pleasantly surprised when they learn of the new rules and are adapting quickly. In Fort Myers, the beach was noticeably cleaner once the November 2017 ban took effect .
Additionally, as the "bring-your-own-straw" (BYOS) movement gains traction, the bans will likely coincide with an increase in reusable options for use in restaurants or private gatherings. Consumers can already easily purchase their own metal, BPA-free plastic, or biodegradable straws online.
We personally love reusable straws, which are generally more decorative, to add flair to any event or dining experience.